The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) was founded in 2010, and has developed a certification programme with standards for the responsible production of aquaculture products. A number of global standards for responsible aquaculture were developed between industry stakeholders and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The ASC works with producers, processors, scientists, supply chain businesses, and environmental NGO’s to promote responsible aquaculture practices through the adoption of these globally recognised standards. In this way the ASC hopes to improve the environmental and social practices used in the production of farmed fish, and shellfish; raising the awareness of their programme and the use of their seafood eco-label to signal the integrity of ASC certified products.
The ASC manages the certification of aquaculture producers to their standards and the use of the ASC eco-label within the supply chain; and is active in the ongoing introduction and promotion of the ASC programme,
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) applies a sustainability standard to wild caught fish, crustaceans and shellfish (link) but does not cover seafood produced by aquaculture. The ASC programme addresses this, by providing a similar programme for responsibly farmed fish.
The ASC standard covers the legal compliance, preservation of the environment and water resources, the preservation of the natural biodiversity and wild populations, animal health, the use of feed and the social and ethical use of labour within its scope.
Unlike the MSC programme, the ASC has developed standards for the production of various farmed species. These include, tilapia, pangasius, salmon, bivalve shellfish and abalone. Further standards for other farmed species will be introduced over time. Any farm, regardless of size or location, involved in the production of these species may participate in the ASC programme.
The ASC certification programme works in a very similar way to the MSC programme for wild caught fish, in that assessment and certification is undertaken by third party certifiers. The assessment is carried out against the specific certification standard; once all major conformances are met a certificate is awarded to the farm which is valid for three years. Annual surveillance audits are undertaken to ensure ongoing conformance and that required progress in any improvement plans is being made.
Contacts and further info:
Contact details for the ASC can be found here: click here
ASC standards, certification requirements and quick start guides can be found at this link: click here