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Salmon farmer Sam Moffit at Mowi's Loch Linnhe site, one of four seawater farms to gain ASC certification. Photo: Mowi.
Salmon farmer Sam Moffit at Mowi's Loch Linnhe site, one of four seawater farms to gain ASC certification. Photo: Mowi.

Mowi Scotland has achieved certification from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) for four seawater salmon farms this month, bringing its total of ASC certified farms to eight.

Marine farms at Loch Linnhe, Gorsten, Marulaig Bay and Stulaigh join Loch Leven in achieving ASC certification, complementing previous certification of the company’s freshwater smolt sites.

In a press release, Mowi said the certifications were a significant milestone in the company’s objective to achieve 100% ASC certification for all its sites around the world.

Sam Clegg, certification manager at Mowi Scotland, said: “I’m incredibly pleased that our hard work throughout 2020 is paying off and we are now able to see the first wave of freshly certified ASC sites in Mowi Scotland. 

“The ASC Salmon and Freshwater Trout standards are widely recognised as the most robust and far-reaching environmental and social standards for global aquaculture.”

21 sites by early 2022

All audits were conducted remotely because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Mowi said that while on-site inspections had to be done via video link, the process remained thorough as it was supported with robust documentation.

Clegg said: “We can now push ahead to a productive 2021 and 2022. We hope to increase our total of certified sites to 21 by early 2022.” 

More than 10% of Mowi Scotland’s total production is now from ASC accredited sites and the company hopes that this will increase to 30% over the next 12 to 18 months.

Loch-grown smolts

Until July 2019, Mowi Scotland’s practice of growing around half of its smolts in freshwater sites at Loch Shiel, Loch Arkaig, Loch Lochy, Loch Ness and Loch Garry made ASC certification of marine sites impossible because the ASC’s Salmon Standard required smolts to be raised in on-land facilities.

That changed following a revision of the ASC’s Salmon Standard and Freshwater Trout Standard, which resolves inconsistencies between the two and meant all freshwater salmonid farming, including salmon smolt production, would be audited against the Freshwater Trout Standard.