In addition to presenting the Sea Around Us Global Mariculture Database, we are also providing linkage to the Global Aquaculture Performance Index (GAPI), which has been developed by Dr. John Volpe and the Seafood Ecology Research Group at the University of Victoria, Canada. The first phase of development has been supported by the Lenfest Ocean Program.
GAPI is a science-based, data-driven tool enabling rigorous and objective evaluation of the environmental performance of marine aquaculture production systems. Derived from Yale and Columbia University’s 2008 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), the GAPI empowers interested parties and key policymakers to make more informed and ultimately more sustainable decisions related to their farmed seafood purchases and policies, respectively.
Similar to the EPI, the GAPI employs a proximity-to-target methodology, which measures how close specific country-species pairs (i.e. Norwegian Atlantic cod, Scottish Atlantic salmon) come to established environmental performance targets for aquaculture. For instance, if the ecological target for fishmeal and oil is set at zero fish sourced from unsustainable fisheries, GAPI measures how close a country-species pair comes to meeting this target with the proximity measured on a scale from 0 to 100 (where 100 represents achievement of the target).
The attractiveness of GAPI as both a policy and market-based tool is that it allows an informed analysis on many different levels. From a policy perspective, it allows us to examine not only how well a country’s aquaculture sector is performing relative to other countries, but it offers insight into the opportunities for environmental improvement. From a markets perspective, GAPI allows seafood purchasers to compare their options not only among producers of an individual species (e.g., how does Norwegian farmed salmon compare to Chilean farmed salmon) but across species as well (e.g., how does Norwegian farmed cod compare to Scottish farmed salmon). Data can be aggregated to understand how the entire industry is performing (e.g., how far is the farmed salmon industry from our ecological targets) or can be broken out to compare performance within individual issue areas (e.g., how well is Norway performing on disease/parasites compared to Scotland). Additionally, GAPI can be used to quantitatively benchmark existing aquaculture standards to determine and compare how close these come to set ecological targets.