Mowi Canada West now has 23 salmon farms certified to the ASC Salmon Standard. Photo: Bruce Vizueta / Mowi.

Mowi achieves ASC world first in First Nations territory

Mowi Canada West has become the world’s first aquaculture company to successfully achieve certification under the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) multi-site certification methodology after independent third-party auditors certified three Klemtu area salmon farms in British Columbia to the ASC Salmon Standard. 

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Mowi Canada West now has 23 salmon farms certified to the ASC Salmon Standard, representing about 75% of the company’s production. 

“I am proud of our salmon farmers and certification team for this achievement, which confirms our leading environmental performance” said Mowi Canada West managing director Dr Diane Morrison. “Achieving the ASC certification for our farms demonstrates our commitment to social and environmental sustainability and to transparency in our practices.”

Diane Morrison: "Transparency in our practices".

Diverse stakeholders

The three sites certified sites through the multi-site methodology – Alexander Inlet, Goat Cove and Kid Bay - are operated in the traditional territory of the Kitasoo Xai’Xais First Nation. Mowi and the Kitasoo have had an agreement for salmon farming and processing for the past 20 years.

Certification of multiple sites under the multi-methodology was announced by the ASC in August 2017 and became available to farmers seeking certification later that year.

The final process was developed following two public consultations in 2016 and 2017 and, as outlined on the ASC website, “reflects valuable input from numerous and diverse stakeholder groups, including producers, environmental NGOs and certification and accreditation bodies”.

Loch-raised smolts

Mowi is working towards the goal of 100% certification to the ASC Standard across all its sites by 2020, although currently only one of Mowi Scotland’s sites – at Loch Leven – is ASC certififed.

This is because Mowi stocks many of its seawater sites with smolts grown in freshwater lochs, something that has until now disqualified them from ASC certification.

An ASC standards review that would allow for smolts to be raised in cages in any water body, if the smolt site is certified to the ASC Freshwater Trout Standard, is due to be completed by the third quarter of 2019.

ASC chief executive Chris Ninnes and supervisory board member Scott Nichols were accompanied by Mowi Scotland managing director Ben Hadfield on a fact-finding visit to a smolt site at Loch Lochy in August last year.

Hadfield said at the time that Mowi Scotland already maintained several quality, environmental and animal welfare standards that recognised and audited its full production cycle taking place in freshwater and at sea.

“The ASC standard is also a certification scheme we are very much wanting to pursue,” added Hadfield.