First salmon farm in North America gains ASC certification


The first salmon farm in North America has become certified against the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) Salmon Standard for responsible aquaculture.

Marine Harvest Canada's Marsh Bay Farm in British Colombia is the company's ninth farm to gain ASC certification, and the first in North America.

"I would like to extend my congratulations Marsh Bay Farm for their achievement. It is exciting to see North America entering the map of where the ASC programme is present," said Chris Ninnes, ASC's CEO.

"Our programme strives to have a strong presence worldwide to ensure that the impacts of fish farming are minimised globally. And with the help of farms such as Marsh Bay we are well on our way."

Third party independent verification

The Marsh Bay Farm gained its ASC certification following an independent assessment by the accredited certifier SAI Global. Certifiers are accredited by the independent organisation, Accreditation Services International (ASI).

ASC strives to have a fully transparent certification process. The announcement of a farm audit needs to be publicly visible for at least 30 days before the actual audit. Once the farm has been assessed by an accredited auditor, the certifier develops the draft farm audit report, which is posted on ASC's website for a two week public consultation period. When a farm has been successfully certified, the certificate is also available on the website.

Credible standard for responsible salmon farming

The ASC Salmon Standard was launched in summer 2012. By meeting the standard, certified salmon farms must demonstrate that they use responsible aquaculture practises that minimise their environmental and social impact.

The salmon standard aims to address the key negative environmental and social impacts of salmon farming. It requires unprecedented levels of transparency on farm performance data, sourcing of feed ingredients, disease transmission between farms and the wild salmon population, controlling escapes into the wild, use of therapeutics and antibiotics, site impacts and labour issues on farms.

In total, 27 salmon farms in Australia, Canada, Chile and Norway have successfully gained ASC certification. An additional 22 salmon farms have undergone assessment and are now awaiting the outcome of their audits.

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