Scottish Sea Farms pauses ASC certification

07 December 2023

Since its inception, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) Salmon Standard certification programme is something Scottish Sea Farms has held in high regard.

Its ambition aligns with our own – namely, to set a benchmark for environmentally and socially responsible salmon farming.

As such, we have been proud to gain, and just as crucially retain, certification of three farms, with a further three farms currently midway through the certification process.

Over recent months however, the ASC Salmon Standard in Scotland has seen several changes; changes that vary from other salmon producing countries and that we believe are not in the best interests of our fish.

In some instances, certification stipulates that we should intervene in fish health when our own experienced veterinarians have advised that the salmon are best left alone.

In others, we are required to adopt alternative interventions to the ones our fish health professionals have determined to be most appropriate, having weighed up all the key factors.

In each case, we have decided in favour of fish health and welfare, presenting a detailed veterinary case for why our fish should be exempted.

Realistic that both the climate and marine environment continue to change and challenge us, we can only see the situation becoming more nuanced and complex.

With this in mind, whilst we still believe wholeheartedly in the overarching premise of the ASC Salmon Standard, we have taken the decision, in the best interests of our fish, to voluntarily withdraw from the scheme.

We will, over coming weeks and months, seek to discuss the issues posed with the ASC directly in the hope of helping shape a more informed, science-based Standard that draws on the experiences of those on the front-line of salmon farming.

Until then, we will continue to put fish health and welfare first.