Framework for Sustainably Managed Aquaculture

SFP Framework for Sustainably Managed Aquaculture

Sustainably managed aquaculture requires best practices at the farm level, production zone level, and national policy level. But markets have traditionally focused their attention almost exclusively at farm-level practices. 

While farm-level certification can address some risks, it fails to address systemic issues, such as disease risk. SFP’s Framework for Sustainably Managed Aquaculture is a roadmap for comprehensive improvements to aquaculture management. The Framework is guided heavily by FAO’s Ecosystem Approach to Aquaculture, and also forms the backbone of SFP’s FishSource Aquaculture assessment methodology.

National and Regional Governance

  • Aquaculture management plans based on zonal management are developed, published, and regularly updated and reviewed with participation of key stakeholders.
  • Aquaculture Management Areas (AMAs) are established to guide farm siting and coordinated environmental and disease management.
  • Science-based limits on the outputs of aquaculture (effluent, chemicals, escapes) and relevant to the species, production system, and geography of farming are identified.
  • Regulations are effectively enforced.
  • Human rights are protected and abusive labor practices are eliminated from aquaculture supply chains.
  • Traceability is ensured with verification from the farm through the supply chain.

Best Practices

  • Producers are formally organized and adopt and enforce robust codes of good practice, with regular public and transparent enforcement and reporting.
  • Farmers and managers use data to inform and improve management actions; data is publicly available. 
  • Aquaculture inputs (e.g., feed, seed, water) are traceable and from sources that are managed in ecologically and socially responsible ways.

Disease Risk

  • Health management plans and emergency disease response plans are developed for all production zones and updated regularly.
  • Biosecurity protocols and disease responses are coordinated across all producers in a given zone.
  • Incidents of disease and management actions taken are monitored and publicly reported

Resource Management

  • Industry and governments move toward management based on environmental carrying-capacity limits, where existing production and growth are managed against science-based thresholds and the assessment of cumulative impacts.
  • Marine, coastal, and/or land-use planning is conducted to evaluate and account for all users of shared resources, guide site selection, and ensure the local resource base is protected.
  • Environmental impacts (inputs and outputs) are regularly monitored at both the farm level and area level, with regular public and transparent reporting of results.


  • The fishmeal and oil in aquaculture feed is sourced from well-managed fisheries free of abusive labor practices.
  • All ingredients in feed are fully traceable to source.
  • Feedlots are fully traceable through the production chain to the final product.


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