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Image of nets from an aquaculture farm from above

Core solution

Integrated Farm Assurance for aquaculture

Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) for aquaculture is a global standard for responsible farming practices at all stages of primary production. It is built on a holistic approach that covers the key topics of food safety, the environment (including biodiversity), animal welfare, workers’ well-being, production processes, and traceability.

GLOBALG.A.P.’s flagship standard

What is Integrated Farm Assurance for aquaculture?

Developed with participation from a wide range of sector stakeholders, Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) for aquaculture provides producers with clarity on international requirements for responsible farming and facilitates a long-term holistic approach to primary production operations. It covers a wide range of finfish, crustacean, mollusc, and seaweed (macroalgae) species. The standard has consistently achieved Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and Global Seafood Sustainability Initiative (GSSI) recognition, and is aligned with the four pillars of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Technical Guidelines on Aquaculture Certification as well as the World Organization for Animal Health Aquatic Animal Health Code. Operational for over 20 years, IFA is tried, tested, and trusted around the world – with over 2.5 million metric tons of farmed seafood produced in IFA-certified production processes annually.

Infographic of a world map identifying countries with Integrated Farm Assurance certified production processes for aquaculture

IFA for aquaculture at a glance

Aquaculture 1, Aquaculture, production processes, all stages of production, lifecycle
Addresses all stages

of production, from feed and hatchery to harvesting and transportation

Aquaculture 2, Aquaculture, aquatic species, product category, fish, mollusc, crustacean
Production processes

for over 35 species of finfish, crustaceans, and molluscs currently under certification

Aquaculture 3, Aquaculture, farm, fish, animal welfare
Relevant for all

major types of production systems, from net enclosures to closed recirculation systems

Aquaculture 4, Aquaculture, farm, production processes
Certification options

for a variety of sizes and types of aquaculture farms, including producer groups

Document 1, Document, checklist, add-on
Easily combinable

with a range of targeted add-ons and supply chain solutions for flexible assurance customization

Globe 3, Globe, worldwide, network, implementation
Implemented worldwide

with a global network of approved CBs and Registered Trainers

Which topics does IFA for aquaculture address?

IFA for aquaculture covers all stages of production, from hatchery to postharvest activities. The standard has been developed together with sector experts in the technical committees and focus groups and underwent extensive public consultation as part of our process for standard setting

This ensures that IFA remains robust, realistic, and cost-efficient for producers while meeting the evolving demands of buyers.

Core topics in IFA v6 for aquaculture include:

  • Food safety

  • Farmed aquatic species welfare, management, and husbandry

  • Workers’ well-being: occupational health, safety, and welfare

  • Environment and biodiversity management

  • Mass balance and traceability

  • Feed management

  • Sampling and testing of farmed aquatic species

  • Harvesting and postharvesting operations

  • Hygiene

  • Site management

Discover more about how IFA helps you address challenges in the aquaculture sector .

Image of net enclosures from an aquaculture farm from above

Who should use IFA for aquaculture?

IFA for aquaculture is available for the entire spectrum of producers worldwide, addressing a range of production systems, including:

  • Net enclosures

  • Flow-through systems

  • Closed recirculation systems

  • Pond farming

  • Mollusc/Seaweed (macroalgae) substrate systems

It offers certification options for both individual producers (single site and multisite producers) and producer groups. Producers can get certification in any country where a GLOBALG.A.P. approved certification body (CB) conducts audits.

IFA for aquaculture can be implemented for the production processes for any aquatic species listed in the GLOBALG.A.P. product list . Certification is linked to the scientific name to support traceability across the supply chain.

How does IFA for aquaculture work?

  • Compliance with the standard requirements is audited annually by an accredited and independent third-party CB.

  • Producers can choose from any GLOBALG.A.P. approved CB active in the relevant country.

  • A successful CB audit results in a certificate valid for one year.

The GLOBALG.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice (GRASP) is a mandatory add-on to IFA for aquaculture. Producers must also source feed from manufacturers with production processes certified to the Compound Feed Manufacturing (CFM) standard or a recognized feed safety scheme.

IFA v6 checklists are generated digitally and are tailored to the producer’s specific production practices, eliminating any not applicable requirements. Our smarter, streamlined, and outcome-oriented approach also provides flexibility to producers in demonstrating compliance.

The standard is composed of principles and criteria (P&Cs). P&Cs are graded in three levels: Major Must, Minor Must, and Recommendation.


  • Fundamentals that set the foundation of a GLOBALG.A.P. requirement

  • Written in statement form

  • Describing the outcome to achieve


  • Methods that producers can use to demonstrate a principle to be true

  • Different ways to demonstrate compliance, e.g., data, record of procedure

  • Evidence required for demonstrating that the outcome is achieved

Read more about the audit process and standard requirements .

Infographic showing the principles and criteria of Integrated Farm Assurance version 6 for aquaculture

How is certification status verified?

Every producer registered in the GLOBALG.A.P. certification system is assigned a 13-digit GLOBALG.A.P. identification number (e.g., a GLOBALG.A.P. Number (GGN)). This number allows real-time verification of certification status in the GLOBALG.A.P. IT systems , upholding our rigorous transparency requirements throughout the supply chain.

As aquaculture producers with IFA-certified production processes must source feed from
compound feed manufacturers under CFM certification, the GGN of the compound feed
manufacturer is also displayed in the GLOBALG.A.P. IT systems.

Producers can control data access and privacy rights for audit reports, and the reports are not shared publicly or with third parties. This process is handled via your chosen CB.

What are the two editions of IFA v6?

IFA v6 for aquaculture is available in two parallel and equally valid editions:

  • IFA v6 Smart, which fully embodies the GLOBALG.A.P. philosophy and is appropriate for
    the majority of producers

  • IFA v6 GFS, designed for producers who require certification with recognition from GFSI

This decision stems from the extensive public consultation conducted during the standard revision.

Many industry experts requested a more flexible and outcome-oriented IFA, but it was not possible to completely reconcile their preferences with GFSI requirements. To provide solutions for both use cases and to ensure that IFA certification continues to be applicable for the mass market, two editions were developed: IFA v6 Smart and IFA v6 GFS.

There are no differences in the P&Cs of the two editions for aquaculture. There are some differences in the GLOBALG.A.P. general regulations, such as rules for group certification and
unannounced CB audits. Customer requirements usually determine the edition that a producer will implement.

Infographic showing the four stages of the Integrated Farm Assurance continuous improvement plan at farm level

What is the continuous improvement plan?

IFA v6 for aquaculture introduces the need for a continuous improvement plan at farm level. This approach encourages measurable target setting that helps producers to improve the efficiency of their operations and achieve recognition for efforts to strengthen on-farm sustainability.

  • Plan: After analyzing current practices, data identifies areas that can be improved, and the producer sets measurable goals for improvement.

  • Do: Targeted measures are implemented in farming practices.

  • Check: Implementation is checked and progress reviewed at the annual CB audit.

  • Act: The continuous improvement plan is revised based on progress and impact.

Latest news

A man and woman working in a field to harvest cabbages.

13 November 2023

Applicability of GRASP v2 extended and transition period for new fees

The GLOBALG.A.P. Secretariat communicates two key decisions to support the transition to IFA v6 for all stakeholders.

Add-ons to core solutions
Core solutions
Workers’ well-being
The GLOBALG.A.P. Secretariat announces its new website and details the smart features.

31 October 2023

New GLOBALG.A.P. website now live - another step into the smart era

The GLOBALG.A.P. Secretariat announces its new website and details the smart features.

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