Information on Certification

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Certified Quality Aquaculture (CQA) Programme

Our Certified Quality Aquaculture (CQA) Programme supports the production of high-class farmed Irish seafood and provides a means of differentiating aquaculture products in the marketplace through eco, organic and quality labelling.

The Public Consultation Period is now closed

About the CQA Programme

Our CQA Programme was developed by a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) with representatives from all parts of the supply chain, from feed to fork. It is a business-to-customer assurance, which is managed according to ISO 17065, and uses aquaculture facilities as its unit of certification.

Certified Quality Aquaculture (CQA) Standards

The CQA Standards are a product certification for finfish and mussels. It comprises two integral elements:‌

How it works

The CQA Standards are separated into modules that cover different areas of activity on a farmed fish production site or processing plant.

CQA Farming Standard CQA Processing Standard
General requirements General requirements

  • Organic production
  • Eco production

  • Organic production
  • Eco production
General requirements

This section deals with these general management practices that you must have in place to achieve certification:

  • The production process from inputs through to outputs
  • Assessment of the applicant, premises, operational systems and procedures.

It covers the specific product criteria in place for fishfish and mussels. This scope is available for salmon, freshwater fish and mussels.

Organic production requirements

This section deals with these additional organic production requirements that you must have in place (together with the general requirements) to achieve organic certification:

  • The production process from inputs through to outputs
  • Assessment of your additional organic procedures and systems.

This scope is available for salmon and mussels.

Eco production requirements

This section aims to help you show your commitment to environmentally sustainable development during the production process. It deals with the additional eco requirements that you must have in place (together with the general requirements) achieve eco certification. This scope is available for salmon, freshwater fish and mussels.

Who can apply?

The CQA Standards are open to anyone within the region of Ireland, regardless of size, scale, management or minimum number of operators.

CQA Standards feedback

Send your CQA Standards comments and questions to:

Applying for Certified Quality Aquaculture (CQA) Certification

Our CQA team will guide you through the process of achieving certification and can advise on support available towards third-party fees for organic certification through the Sustainable Aquaculture Scheme.

Step 1: Get in touch to identify your needs

Contact us at for more information

Step 2: Know your CQA Standards

Download a copy of the relevant CQA Standards and familiarise yourself with the requirements:‌

Step 3: Get ready

Prepare your document management and record-keeping system.

Step 4: Pre-Audit

Contact your Certification Body to prepare for your full audit.

Step 5: Audit

Apply to the assigned Certification Body and arrange a date for your audit.

Further Information

Read the full requirements in your CQA Standard document. ‌

Certified Quality Aquaculture: Certified Companies

Browse this list for details of all CQA-certified farms, hatcheries, broodstock facilities and processing plants.

Performance Indicators related to CQA Scheme Objectives are recognised via ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’. The companies that have been certified as having passed all criteria, are listed below:

CQA-Certified Facilities
Supplier Registered Site Issue Date Cert #
Ocean Farm Ltd McSwynes and Inver Bay Processing Facility   1032
Kush Seafarms Ltd Ardgroom   1005
Millbrook Salmon Hatcheries Ltd Donegal   1031
Marine Harvest Ireland Millstone
Clare Island Seafarms
Lough Altan
Cranford B
Kindrum B
Lough Swilly
Emerald Mussels Ltd Carlingford Lough   1006
Bantry Harbour Mussels Bantry   1011
Santa Cruise Carrigahorig   1035
Colin Whooley (Ocean Run Ltd) Colin Whooley   1007
Iasc Sliogach Uisce Leathan Teo Mulroy Bay   1019
Dunmanus Bay Mussels Dunmanus Bay   1015
Mannin Seafoods Ltd Roaringwater Bay   1010
Saltspray Mussel Technology Ltd Bantry Bay   1024
Derrylea Holdings Ltd Lough Fee
Glenarm Glenarm Bary
Red Bay
Crescent Seafoods Ltd. Wexford Harbour
Carlingford Lough
Certified Quality Aquaculture Programme Integrity

The BIM Certified Quality Aquaculture Programme is owned and managed by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

BIM and its members have made a commitment that all activities of the CQA Programme:

  • Are carried out in a systematic manner in accordance with defined and documented policies and procedures.
  • Meet applicable legislative requirements.
  • Are visible and auditable.
  • Meet the needs of applicants, staff, certification bodies, accreditation bodies and all other related stakeholders.
  • Describe the structure of the operating, certification and control procedures in the Programme Integrity Resources.
Programme Integrity Resources
Do you have comments that may improve the CQA Standards?

Stakeholders may make submissions on the CQA Standards throughout the year. All submissions will be considered by the CQA Technical Advisory Committee in the ongoing development of the CQA Standards.

Email your submission to the CQA Programme Lead at

For information on our development plans for the CQA Standards and the Process of Revision to the CQA Standards see: