The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is proud to announce that more than 200 farms have achieved ASC certification in 28 countries.
Three bivalve farms belonging to Ria Austral South America in the Queilen, Pichicolu and Hudson Channel areas of Chile, simultaneously achieved certification; pushing the current number of ASC-certified farms past the 200 mark.
The three scallops producers all achieved certification against the ASC Bivalve Standard, an achievement that includes both an environmental and social assessment by an independent auditor.
“The certification of more than 200 farms is a significant benchmark for the programme and a clear indicator of the growing importance of responsible aquaculture,” said Chris Ninnes, CEO of ASC. “We are thrilled that so many producers have made the choice to engage with the ASC and equally pleased that the pipeline of farms under assessment maintains this strong growth. Collectively, this benefits the environment, the farm workers and adjacent communities.”
The number of ASC-certified farms against all standards has grown exponentially each year. Between January 2015 and January 2016, 81 farms become certified, a 65 per cent increase over the number of farms participating in the programme over the 12-month period. Furthermore, ASC has good reason to anticipate another phase of strong growth as close to 100 additional farms are currently in assessment.
A growing global commitment to responsible aquaculture
The growing engagement of farms in the ASC programme has been matched by significant commitments from influential seafood buyers and producers, including the Rio 2016 Olympic Games who have pledged to source seafood from ASC-certified farms throughout the Olympic village for both athletes and spectators.
The commitment of retailers and seafood brands has also been particularly strong across the globe.
- AEON, the largest retailer in Asia, has recently made ASC-certified farmed shrimp products available in each of their retail outlets throughout Japan.
- Woolworths became the first market to introduce ASC-certified tilapia products in South Africa in November.
- Coles is the first major supermarket in Australia to introduce ASC-certified salmon in their deli.
- In Belgium, Colruyt is offering a broad range of certified product.
- Lidl Germany published a very ambitious commitment to sell ASC-certified and labelled farmed fish in its permanent selection from 2018.
- Retailers in the Netherlands such as Albert Heijn, Jumbo, PLUS, Aldi and Lidl – who have all pledged to source only ASC-certified seafood – are selling an increasing amount of ASC salmon.
- The largest global commitment to date was announced in the autumn of 2015 when IKEA pledged to offer only ASC-certified farmed seafood across all their stores in 47 countries.
Currently, the top ASC-certified species is salmon. The 84 salmon farms included in the official count are in line with the industry commitment to the Global Salmon Initiative. This is closely followed by shrimp, with 34 shrimp farms entering the programme in 2015.
Meeting the need for responsibly sourced seafood
Certification is available for the species most in demand by retailers, food service providers and consumers. The programme has an estimated total production volume (certified and under assessment) of more than one million tonnes in the three-and-a-half years since the first farm entered ASC assessment in August of 2012.
ASC certification meets the needs of the market by offering the world’s most credible, science-based standards for responsibly farmed seafood.
Reinforcing the environmental and social integrity of the product
Research has shown that the ASC logo reassures consumers that the seafood they purchase is produced using methods of the highest environmental and social integrity, reinforcing their trust in retailers.
With a growing selection of ASC-certified seafood available, consumers across 54 countries can now choose from more than 4,462 products. As more new standards such as seriola and cobia are introduced, and as a variety of initiatives including the soon to be launched Group Certification gain participants, this number is only set to increase.