The ASC is developing a new standard for fish farms globally.

Have your say about new ASC fish farms standard

Certification body launches final round of consultation


The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has launched the last round of stakeholder consultation to help finalise the content of its new Farm Standard. Stakeholders are encouraged to take part before the consultation closes on Monday, May 20.

The new Farm Standard will align all of ASC’s 12 species-specific standards into a single global, robust standard - bringing greater consistency to the ASC programme and supporting the highest assurance throughout the supply chain.

It also addresses all relevant environmental and human rights impacts of aquaculture, regardless of production system or location of the farm.

It includes enhancements to existing requirements along with new requirements in key areas to address environmental and social impacts of aquaculture. The Standard also enables ASC to act on market demand for new species and add new production systems to the programme more efficiently.

Michiel Fransen, ASC director of standards and science, said: “We encourage all stakeholders to actively participate in this last round of consultation. Whether you’re a producer, a retailer, an academic, an NGO or anyone else who is interested in what we are doing, we want to hear from you. This will help make sure that the ASC Farm Standard reflects your expectations, expertise, and experiences.”

Four principles

The content of the ASC Farm Standard is divided across four principles: farm management; environmental responsibility; social responsibility; and fish health and welfare, which includes new criteria on handling, stunning and slaughter requirements, and new eyestalk ablation restrictions for shrimp producers.

Maria Filipa Castanheira: Welfare requirements "will support producers to transparently demonstrate their responsible practices".

Antibiotic usage restrictions for all producers will help drive ASC’s long-term approach to reducing antibiotic use in line with World Health Organisation’s ‘One Health’ recommended approach for reducing dependence on antibiotics.

Maria Filipa Castanheira, ASC standards coordinator for fish welfare, said: “These focused, clear requirements on animal health and welfare will support producers to transparently demonstrate their responsible practices to their supply chain. The welfare indicators, handling and slaughter requirements in particular will contribute to lower animal stress levels and better welfare, which will ultimately contribute to better product quality, higher survival rates and reduced expenditure on disease prevention.”

ASC chief executive Chris Ninnes said: “This new Standard will draw together years of experience, research and input from a range of ASC stakeholders spanning many backgrounds. It is a milestone development not only for ASC certification, but also for responsibly produced farmed seafood worldwide. We are proud to be setting the standard for seafood.”

Learn more about the new Standard and find out how to take part in the survey here.