Michiel Fransen, Secretary for the ASC’s Responsible Feed Project, issued a statement explaining the situation.
“Over the last year and a half a group of expert stakeholders prepared an initial draft of the ASC Feed Standard. Just over a week ago, ASC closed a 74 day public comment period to gather feedback on the content of the first draft and the standard setting process.
“A multi-stakeholder group of industry and non-industry members, such as Skretting, Ewos, Oxfam, WWF and many others will now review the feedback to produce a second draft of the standard. This process allows the content to be built on the consensus of a balanced group of stakeholders, as well as based on the current state of science and best practices in the aquaculture feed industry.
“ASC proactively reached out to stakeholders seeking comments on the ASC Feed Standard. The feedback that was submitted by WWF is exactly the type of input that is welcomed in this process and will be considered together with all other feedback that was received.
“In the final feed standard there will need to be a fine balance between the incentives that the standard’s requirements create with the required supply of certified ingredients. At the moment there is a fairly limited amount of MSC certified fish meal/fish oil coming from whole fish fisheries available for feed producing companies around the world. An estimated 23,500 tonnes of whole fish MSC certified meal and oil are available and there is an estimated demand for 31,000 tonnes.
“In developing the requirements, the Steering Committee will strive for the highest possible level of responsible sourcing, but we need to recognise that the model created needs to encourage players in the sector to improve and get engaged in the process towards improved practices. The aim is to collectively develop a model which will drive change in a challenging, yet do-able manner.
“We will publish the next draft of the feed standard for scrutiny during a second public comment period. In addition, the draft standard will be tested in a series of pilots with several feed mills globally. So, the dialogue to develop this standard will continue and our stakeholders will continue to provide feedback, which will contribute to the final standard. This approach will establish the consensus needed to improve the environmental and social performance of key feed ingredients used in fish farming.”