As part of our ongoing drive to be as sustainable as possible, 2021 saw us apply for ASC certification for the first time. Our chosen farm? Toyness, Orkney.
Its Aquaculture Standards have been developed in collaboration with over 2,000 farmers, processors, retailers, food service operators, scientists, government agencies and environmental and social NGOs alike, and are implemented in accordance with ISEAL Alliance guidelines.
Currently, there are 11 ASC Standards covering 17 species of farmed seafood: abalone, bivalves (clams, mussels, oyster, scallop), flatfish, freshwater trout, pangasius, salmon, seabass, seabream, meagre, seriola and cobia, shrimp, tilapia and tropical marine finfish.
There’s also a joint standard between the ASC and Marine Stewardship Council (blue fish tick) for farmed and wild-caught seaweed.
Underlying each of the different Standards, however, are the same seven core principles:
- Legal compliance with national and local laws and regulations
- Preservation of natural habitats, local biodiversity and ecosystem
- Preservation of the diversity of the wild population
- Preservation of water resources and quality
- Responsible use of feed and other resources
- Improved fish health and controlled and responsible use of antibiotics and chemicals
- Acting responsibly toward workers and local communities.
About the ASC standard
Work to develop an ASC standard for different salmon species began in 2004 as part of the WWF Aquaculture Dialogues, a series of multi-stakeholder round-table meetings tasked with defining responsible aquaculture – a task that took eight years to research, debate and distil into the ASC Salmon Standard.
The first farm to achieve this new standard? Villa Organic of Norway’s Villa Arctic Jarfjord farm, then part-owned by our parent company Leroy Seafood Group and now fully incorporated into Leroy.
In order for a salmon farm to gain certification, it must first be independently assessed against the requirements of the ASC Salmon Standard.
These requirements cover all manner of different criteria related to water quality, responsible sourcing of feed, disease prevention and animal welfare, as well as the fair treatment and pay of workers and maintaining positive relationships with neighbours and communities.
Only if a farm meets each and every requirement can it be certified and its produce be sold with the ASC logo.
ASC certification doesn’t stop at one successful audit. Farms must undergo reassessments at regular intervals and any farms certified under a previous set of requirements must comply with the new requirements to maintain certification.
You can find out more about the ASC, its vision and mission at asc-aqua.org