Seafarm in Zeeland. The Dutch turbot grower is the first farmer in the world to achieve certification under the ASC's Flatfish Standard. Photo: Seafarm.

ASC certification is a flatfish first for Dutch turbot farmer

Dutch turbot farmer Seafarm has become the first in the world to achieve certification against the standards of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s Flatfish Standard.

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Based in the province of Zeeland, Seafarm has been producing farmed seafood for decades, and takes a ‘whole circle’ approach to farming turbot, from breeding to selling the fish in its on-site restaurant.

Launched in 2019, ASC’s Flatfish Standard was developed in response to market demand for species like turbot, halibut and flounder.

A turbot grown in the Zeeland fish farm. Photo: Seafarm.

Spring water

To achieve certification a flatfish farm has to demonstrate it is limiting environmental impacts such as minimising chemical use and maintaining high water quality, as well as acting in a socially responsible way by providing workers with a safe and fair working environment and treating neighbours and local communities with respect.

Seafarm takes advantage of natural spring water and does not use antibiotics or drugs in production. Its customers include supermarkets and restaurants, including its own situated near its farm for those who like their turbot extra fresh.

Dave and Adri Bout, co-founders of Seafarm. Photo: Seafarm.

Fishing family

Dave Bout, co-owner of Seafarm, said: “We come from a fishing family so we have always had a strong connection with the sea, and a strong desire to protect the environment on which we rely for our food.

“ASC certification gives our customers a demonstrable assurance of this commitment. It means we can show them that our environmental dedication has been transparently audited. Running our own restaurant on-site, we know that this sort of assurance is increasingly important to seafood lovers.”

Minimal impacts

Maud van den Haspel, ASC general manager for The Netherlands, said: “This certification is a demonstration of Seafarm’s dedicated approach to responsible farming, and it is a proud moment for all Dutch seafood lovers. It’s also great news for consumers because it means they can enjoy turbot knowing it has been produced with minimal environmental and social impacts.

“I’m confident that this will be the first of many certifications. Seafarm’s achievement will encourage more producers to follow suit and demonstrate their environmental credentials.”

Seafarm is currently working on improvements to its energy-efficiency and waste disposal with the aim of producing fish using only renewable energy.