Come and sea: retailers shown progress in sea bass and bream industry
Accreditation body the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has hosted its first buyer summit for ASC-certified seabass and sea bream, in Turkey.
Representatives from grocery chains Morrisons and Tesco (UK), along with those from Mercadona and La Sirena (Spain and Portugal), Continente (Portugal), and Giant Eagle (United States) took part in a programme of activities in the Bodrum area.
The ASC has previously held three buyer summits focusing on shrimp and salmon, but this was the first for bass and bream, the organisation said in a press release.
Activities included visiting farm sites and feed barges, observing harvesting using the latest electric stunning techniques, and touring grading and processing facilities, assuring buyers that the fish are being raised to the highest environmental, welfare and social standards.
Ben Lambden, sustainable aquaculture and fisheries manager at Tesco, said: “I joined the summit to see ASC standards in action in the supply chain and gain further understanding of how suppliers interact with these requirements.
“The trip was brilliant and really showcased the Turkish bass and bream industry and the improvements they have made on their ASC journey. I’m keen to further understand future revisions to the standard that will include feed and welfare elements.”
Maria Sapiña Escrivá, environmental manager for Mercadona, said: “We signed up for the summit to better understand how the criteria of the ASC standards play out in a country like Turkey.
“The continuous improvement which we aspire to led us to get to know the reality of the sector at its origin and doing so with the help of ASC and the rest of the retailers helps us see where to direct our future strategies.”
Almost 200 sites
The ASC standard for seabass, sea bream and meagre was added to the ASC’s suite of standards at the end of 2018, with Sürsan in Turkey and Nireus (now Avramar) in Greece becoming the first ASC certified farms for these species in June 2019. There are now almost 200 certified farm sites spread over Spain, Greece, Albania, Croatia and Turkey.
Marcos Moya, global outreach lead at ASC, said: “We are delighted to see the continued interest in our summits, and the added value that they bring to both buyers and farmers. We are excited about the new opportunities that this summit has created and look forward to supporting these new relationships.”