Mowi's smolt site at Loch Lochy is one of two certified under the ASC's revised trout standard. Photo: Mowi Scotland.

World-first ASC certification for Mowi freshwater sites

Mowi Scotland has become the first aquaculture company in the world to achieve Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification for freshwater lochs.

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The company’s Loch Lochy and Glenfinnan sites, used to raise smolts, have become the first farms to achieve certification against the ASC’s revised Trout Standard.

It follows last year’s ASC update to its Salmon Standard and Freshwater Trout Standard, which resolved inconsistencies between the two standards and allowed salmon smolt production to be audited against the Trout Standard. 

Rory Campbell: Mowi can now push ahead with more ASC certification.

Pipeline of smolts

The certifications are a significant milestone for Mowi, whose ambitions towards 100% ASC certification by 2025 were previously impeded because it had been unable to certify seawater sites if they received smolts from freshwater lochs.

The salmon farmer grows around half of its smolts in freshwater lochs and the rest at its recirculating aquaculture (RAS) facilities at Lochailort and Inchmore.

Mowi technical manager Rory Campbell said: “Loch Lochy and Glenfinnan are both freshwater loch farms that, along with our recirculating aquaculture facilities, provide for a vital part of our salmon’s lifecycle before entering the sea.

“By achieving ASC certification at these freshwater loch sites it now allows us to have a pipeline of ASC certified smolts for our seawater sites and enables us now to push on with our plan to achieve ASC certification across our business.”

Hundreds of criteria

Mowi certification manager Samuel Clegg said: “The audits were carried out in February. Two auditors spent two days auditing each farm. One auditor was really focused on technical information and the other auditor looked into personnel issues such as health and safety, human resources and payroll.

“As part of the audit process, many of our farm technicians at site were interviewed along with our fish health professionals who care for the fish at these sites. The whole process is deeply involving for all those involved, with the standard covering a multitude of different technical, social and environmental areas.

“There are hundreds of criteria within the Trout Standard and you have to pass every single one in order to get accreditation. It really does take the whole team to achieve this standard, the auditors look at every aspect of our business including our relationships with stakeholders local to the farms.”

Mowi said it has many more ASC audits lined up as it attempts to win certification for all of its farms.