ASC standards are the result of an extremely thorough development process, but our programme isn’t static and we are always looking for opportunities to adapt to changes in the industry. This is where operational reviews come in.
By Marcelo Hidalgo and Haruko Horii
Operational reviews are one of ASC’s many tools to ensure ongoing improvements, and others include our Monitoring & Evaluating work and the work of our Programme Assurance Team. ASC standards must be reviewed at least once every five years to ensure their continued effectiveness. While reviews must take place within this timeframe, there is not a rigid schedule, as it may be beneficial to review some standards sooner, depending on developments in the industry. There are a number of factors which could justify an early review, including (but not limited to): new scientific developments; changes to operational practices; changes in legislation. The decision of which standards should be reviewed and when is taken by the ASC’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG), made up of industry experts and a diverse range of stakeholders.
There’s another important reason to ensure ongoing operational reviews – it is one of the criteria required for ISEAL membership. ISEAL is a global alliance of sustainability standards with exacting requirements for membership. Other members include Fairtrade and the Forest Stewardship Council, and ASC is the only aquaculture body with full membership.
The purpose of the ISEAL Alliance is to be a place where members can learn best practices to deliver real and lasting change from each other. According to ISEAL, credible sustainable standards are based on a set of criteria, called “Credibility Principle”. These criteria are:
ISEAL also defines good practice for sustainability standards through guidance and credibility tools such as the Codes of Good Practice. There are three types of ISEAL Codes, namely ‘Impact Code’, ‘Assurance Code’ and ‘Standard-setting Code’, and to maintain full membership an organization must demonstrate every year their compliance with all three of these codes. The ‘Standard-setting code’ includes requirements that standards are regularly reviewed.
ASC’s Science and Standards team are in charge of carrying out operational reviews, and are currently kept very busy with reviews of several ASC standards, including shrimp, tilapia, salmon and trout. The TAG is also involved in the reviews – they must approve all proposed changes at every stage, and final sign off comes from ASC’s Supervisory Board – made up of representatives from areas including academia, industry and NGOs. In keeping with our commitment to transparency, all drafts considered during the review process are also published on the ASC website, and are subject to public consultation – just as new standards are. The TAG meet twice a year, which is when they review the process and progress. Their next meeting is in December so the Science and Standards team are even busier than usual with preparations!
So how does it all work in practice? Let’s use the shrimp standard review as an example. It all starts by agreeing the Terms of Reference (ToR) which will, among other things, determine the objective of reviewing the standard, include a risk analysis, stakeholder mapping, and set out exactly what will be addressed by the review. A review will not necessarily look at the entire standard, and a more focused approach reflects the fact that different parts of a standard will vary in their impact and effectiveness. Antibiotic requirements, broodstock, farm management and requirements about mangroves will be addressed in the shrimp review.
Once the ToR for the shrimp review has been drafted, it is posted to our website for public consultation. This lasts for 60 days to give the public and our stakeholders plenty of time to respond, and for the shrimp standard this period will end on 9 December. At the same time, preparations are underway for the review itself – stakeholders have been contacted and working groups of scientists and field experts are being organized.
Once all the feedback has been considered and the ToR has been finalized, the work of drafting the review will begin in earnest. This first draft of the review is expected by the summer of 2019 – and we will of course keep you updated with progress on our website.
In the livestock industry, animal welfare is a widely discussed topic. Multiple schemes have been created to address the strong opinions held by some consumers regarding the treatment of the various terrestrial animals we produce for consumption.
By Janneke Aelen
As the aquaculture industry expands rapidly and scientific knowledge about many of the animals involved evolves, it only makes sense that fish welfare has also become a similarly important issue. While the many debates about fish welfare are in their infancy, it is increasingly clear that it is something that will need to be defined and assessed. For this reason, I joined the ASC’s Standards & Science team in October to look at this important issue in more detail.
Although I have a background in the livestock industry, the aquaculture industry— and especially the topic of fish welfare— has always fascinated me. I studied Animal Sciences in Wageningen, specializing in animal welfare in sustainable animal production systems. During my MSc thesis I studied the behaviour of European eel in recirculation systems, which I compared to physiological parameters in order to assess their welfare under different treatments. In my previous job I worked at the R&D department of a big supplier of the livestock industry where I worked on topics related to animal health. Here I conducted field experiments at farms which gave me the opportunity to translate the issues farmers face into practical solutions.
Of course, improving the welfare of animals in production systems is a huge motivation for me. However, I also enjoy the other challenges that are linked to this subject. Sustainability includes not just environmental and social aspects, but also outcomes for the health and well-being of the stock, so improving animal welfare shouldn’t result in a trade-off on environmental output or profitability of the famer. Personally, I fully believe that these three aspects of sustainability can go hand in hand, in fact they will often be beneficial to one another. Evidence of this can be found in the ASC standards themselves – many of the requirements that are already included as environmental issues also protect animal welfare. The prohibition against using antibiotics as a preventative measure, for example, is not only important to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance. It also encourages farms to prevent disease and instead promote fish health in a more appropriate way, with accompanying benefits for wish welfare.
Do you know what’s special about today’s date? If your answer is that it’s two weeks until Halloween, you’re technically correct – but you’ve forgotten about an even more important commemoration: World Food Day. Don’t worry though, our beginner’s guide to this annual celebration will bring you up to speed. Starting with the most obvious question…
What is World Food Day?
An annual commemoration of the formation of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO), which took place on 16 October 1945. The FAO works to ensure food security for everyone, and World Food Day is one of the UN’s biggest annual celebrations, with events taking place in over 150 countries. It aims to promote awareness of those who suffer from hunger, and encourage action to promote food security and better nutrition.
What are the issues?
Chronic hunger makes it harder to meet many of the UN’s other goals, such as good health and quality education, and it in turn is impacted by a number of other global issues. These include conflict, climate, the economy and inequality. The challenges of malnutrition, in all its forms, is complicated further by the rising cases of obesity around the world. Looking to the future, the world’s population will continue to grow and is estimated to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, so the demand for healthy food will only continue to grow.
How can aquaculture help?
Seafood is a great source of healthy protein to meet these rising demands. The amount of seafood eaten around the world per person has already doubled since 1961 – and the FAO predicts it will continue to rise. But wild capture fisheries cannot meet these demands. That’s why aquaculture is responsible for a growing proportion of the global supply of seafood and will be vital to ensure this supply continues without putting wild stocks at risk. Aquaculture already accounts for more than half of the global supply of seafood, and the FAO predicts that the share of aquaculture will grow exponentially in the coming years.
What’s this got to do with the ASC?
As the aquaculture industry continues to grow, so does the imperative to ensure that farms are run well both environmentally and socially. Farms that are not well managed can have a number of impacts, including water pollution, disruption of local ecosystems and poor working conditions. ASC certified farms must demonstrate that they are managing and minimizing these impacts.
It’s not just about managing the impacts of aquaculture. ASC certification also encourages more efficient practices, which can help in the fight to increase the global supply of food. The ASC’s new Improver Programme also works with smaller farms, and helps them to make some of these improvements to their practices even if they are not yet ready for ASC certification.
Who else can help?
The FAO is clear that achieving zero hunger will require the efforts of everyone – including governments, private businesses and farmers. Even individuals can take steps to reduce the amount of food they waste. Similarly, improving the standards of aquaculture requires a collaborative approach. ASC certification helps producers to improve their practices, but the ASC also works with businesses to create market incentives for producers to make these improvements, and also with governments – for example by benchmarking ASC standards with local requirements.
This collaboration extends to each of us in our daily lives. How? Because your purchasing decisions have power. By choosing to buy seafood from farms that display the ASC logo, you can show your preference for farmers that engage in a transparent and always evolving process to ensure that the food they produce is raised according to best practices and in a manner that will provide much needed resources for the future.
For more information on this year’s World Food Day, and find out more about how you can help improve food security, visit the FAO’s website.
Scotland is known for its wild beauty, strong cultural traditions and for several stand-out signature dishes—salmon chief amongst them.
Naturally, any trip to the country will always be good fun. Due to its standing as a world leader in the aquaculture industry a trip to the north can also be an opportunity for learning. This August Chris Ninnes, CEO of the ASC, and Scott Nichols, a member of the organisation’s Supervisory Board, visited a number of farms in Scotland on a fact-finding trip to get caught up on the latest innovations happening in the Scottish salmon industry.
Ben Hadfield, Marine Harvest Scotland (MHS) Managing Director, accompanied Chris and Scott on a tour of their facilities, including their fresh water operations. MHS have been researching all aspects of salmon farming to find effencies and make production more sustainable. As part of this, they have made a significant investment in smolt (young fish) production technology to ensure that the salmon raised by MHS limit their impact on their environment from the very beginning of the life cycle.
“Working with stakeholders of differing viewpoints is core to maintaining strong standards,” said Chris. “We met with many groups during our visit and also got to see first-hand the way the industry is updating practices. The smolt production facilities at Marine Harvest Scotland are impressive and were certainly a highlight of the trip,” said Chris.
At a meeting during the visit to their facilities, senior management at MHS reaffirmed its commitment to certifying its salmon farms to ASC.
“Marine Harvest Scotland maintains several quality, environmental and animal welfare standards that recognise and audit our full production cycle that takes place in freshwater and at sea. The ASC standard is also a certification scheme we are very much wanting to pursue,” said Ben.
Ocean-based salmon farms receiving smolts in freshwater lochs are not able to achieve ASC certification. However, the ASC Fresh Water Trout Standard is currently under review. Due to the similarities between trout and salmon—and paralles in their production when these species are raised in either freshwater or the sea— updates to the standard regarding smolt will also be applicable to salmon. The proposed update would also introduce requirements for data collection, providing a previously unavailable resources that will allow for improved understanding of the impact of farming on wild salmon in the region.
The amendment to the current trout standard has undergone its second phase of public consultation, with a final decision to come before year end. All information on the review, including the stakeholder comments, can be found on the ASC website.
The ASC’s theory of change aims to use market forces, generating demand for responsibly produced seafood, rewarding responsible producers and incentivising more farms to work towards the ASC’s robust standards.
Generating demand of course requires enough supply to meet it, and a recent workshop in Thailand aimed to bring these complementary sides of the ASC’s programme together, allowing retailers and producers to mutually inform and learn from each other.
The four-day workshop in Bangkok was organised by the ASC in collaboration with WWF Thailand and the Thai Frozen Foods Association (TFFA). It was an unprecedented opportunity for retailers in Japan— including retail giant AEON— to communicate their need for responsibly sourced ASC-certified products directly to potential producers. The workshop therefore benefited both groups by helping retailers find new responsible producer partners and informing producers of potentially lucrative new markets.
Collaboration is one of the fundamental principles of the ASC programme and this was a truly collaborative event. Attendees including representatives from producers, auditors, government departments, and academia. Producers were also given practical and bespoke advice on the process of gaining ASC certification.
The ASC’s General Manager Japan, Koji Yamamoto, was also in attendance to share lessons from that market and to speak about how the ASC is helping AEON to reach some of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Japan is a big importer of Thai shrimp, so the workshop was an ideal opportunity for farmers to learn about the latest developments in this important market.
The workshop also included presentations on the international demands for ASC-certified shrimp in other regions including the US, Europe and Singapore. Lessons from producers in other countries including Vietnam, Indonesia and India were also featured.
The ASC works with both retailers and producers, along with many more stakeholders, to increase demand and supply for responsible seafood. But for the ASC’s theory of change to be as effective as possible, there must be a strong link between all partners. This workshop was an opportunity to forge and strengthen these links in a mutually beneficial way.
Companies attending the workshop also benefited from the opportunity for one-to-one discussions with ASC and WWF Thailand to receive bespoke guidance and advice. In the coming months, the ASC’s Commercial Team will be following up with several farms who have expressed in interest in the programme.
The benefits of ASC certification extend from producers to retailers to consumers, but for a programme like ours to work as well as it can, collaboration between all of those stakeholders, other organisations such as WWF Thailand and the TFFA, and many more, is essential. By bringing some of these different groups together to learn from each other about the benefits and practical realities of ASC certification, workshops like this are an example of this collaboration in action.
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently published The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018 (SOFIA), which as you may have guessed from the title is a summary of the latest official statistics on fisheries and aquaculture.
The SOFIA reports have been published every two years since 1994 and as with previous editions this year’s is a thorough and important publication. Reliable data about fisheries and aquaculture is vital to those working to make these industries more socially and environmentally responsible, to measure impact and identify important areas for improvement.
The report is an interesting read for anyone involved in fisheries or aquaculture, but if you don’t have time to read it in full we’ve picked out some of the most interesting findings about aquaculture and what we think it might mean for the future of the industry. The FAO have also summarized their report, including the statistics on fisheries, on their website.
80 million tonnes
That was the total global aquaculture production of food fish in 2016. Aquaculture production has grown on average by 5.8% a year since 2001.
47 per cent
This is the proportion of total global fish production from aquaculture. This is up from 26 per cent in 2000. The rapid growth in aquaculture has been the driving force behind the increase in total global fish production, and allowed global fish consumption to increase by an average of 3.2 per cent a year since 1961 – outpacing the rise in population growth, as well as the rise in terrestrial meat consumption.
20 kg per year
Was how much fish was consumed per capita in 2015 – more than double the 9kg per capita in 1961. And the FAO’s projections suggest that consumption will continue to increase – albeit at a slower rate – in the future, especially in areas such as Africa and Latin America, which currently have some of the lowest per capita levels of consumption.
109 million tonnes
Is how much aquaculture production of food fish the FAO projects there will be in 2030 – that would be a growth of 37 per cent on 2016 levels. The FAO’s models also project total global food fish production of 201 million tonnes in 2030. That would mean aquaculture would be generating much of the total growth in global fish production, and would represent over half of the total in 2030.
Challenges for the future
The FAO has also highlighted a number of issues facing global fisheries and aquaculture. For example, the accuracy of workforce data, particularly of gender breakdowns, varies greatly between countries. This makes it harder to monitor important social impacts involving the workforce, and means that women’s contribution to these industries is often underestimated.
Other issues include the ongoing impacts of climate change, the sustainability of some fish stocks, and the need to maintain biodiversity. The ASC recently represented the aquaculture industry at the FAO’s Multi-Stakeholder dialogues on biodiversity across agriculture.
This latest report from the FAO makes clear the significant, and growing, contribution of aquaculture towards the world’s supply of seafood. With a rapidly rising global population, this growing production will become more and more vital, but it will also increase the social and environmental impacts of aquaculture – which is where the ASC’s standards can help. These wide-ranging issues will require collaborative work across countries and organisations, but the first step is to recognise the importance of responsibly meeting the world’s growing demand for seafood.
By Ron Tardiff, Science and Standards Intern
In June, I joined the ASC as a Science and Standards Intern conducting research on best (but also worst) practices in farm siting globally as well as sea lice management in the salmon industry. I have just completed the first year of my Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Aquaculture, Environment, and Society (ACES). Through this course, I study aquaculture and its impact on the world at the Scottish Association for Marine Science, the University of Crete, and the University of Nantes.
Despite having a background in marine ecology with specific interest in fisheries management and international ocean policy, I have found myself right at home studying and researching aquaculture. One of my favourite journal articles (I’m sure we all have one) is, “Aquaculture and the Future: Why Fisheries Economists Should Care” by Prof. James L Anderson in the journal Marine Resource Economics (2002). In this, Dr. Anderson argues that fisheries and aquaculture are, in fact, different ends of the same spectrum of activity and that much of our fisheries activities will continue moving towards the aquaculture end of the spectrum. It’s with this logic that I find working at the nexus of fisheries and aquaculture an exciting opportunity.
As part of my internship with ASC, I am reviewing the legislation and regulations employed by salmon producing countries to manage sea lice infestations. Recently, the challenge sea lice poses to salmon farming has received media attention on a global scale. Sea lice may create a problem in terms of fish welfare and mortality, particularly for juveniles migrating to sea (Torrissen et al. 2013). The salmon industry in Norway, Chile, Canada, the Faroe Islands, Scotland, and Ireland find themselves grappling with this problem. Most of these countries have recently increased the stringency of their sea lice monitoring and control protocols. It is important to understand that the potential impacts of sea lice vary widely across the world’s salmon farming countries. Different species of sea lice, the presence or absence of wild salmonids, and climatic conditions mean that a single sea lice control strategy for all salmon producers is unreasonable. One of the challenges faced by ASC, policy makers, and producers is establishing the right maximum sea lice levels and appropriate control measures for each production area.
ASC’s Salmon Standard already includes above-average requirements for sea lice monitoring, inter-farm cooperation, and treatment protocols. The aim of my research is to understand the new efforts countries and industry are taking to prevent and manage sea lice outbreaks in order to inform any future action taken by ASC relating to sea lice. ASC is keenly interested in the following questions:
- Are there trigger limits set when treatments need to commence? If so, what are these numbers and to what do they apply – female sea lice, motile lice, etc – and does the treatment need to be effective so that numbers drop again below the trigger limit?
- On what science is a present trigger limit and/or absolute maximum set?
- Is a distinction made between trigger limits and/or maximum limits due to migration of wild salmons?
- In each country, has the current legislation changed from the previous legislation/regulation? When?
- What are the regulatory regimes applied in each country?
- What is the monitoring regime (number and frequency of samples) employed?
- Are there public records available?
Once the answers to these questions are in hand, ASC will evaluate its current sea lice requirements to ensure these continue to set the gold standard of sea lice management. I’ll be keeping you informed of my progress with further blogs – watch this space!
The ASC represented global aquaculture with a keynote speech at a multi-stakeholder dialogue on biodiversity hosted by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in May.
The Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on Biodiversity Mainstreaming across Agricultural Sectors was held at the FAO’s headquarters in Rome from 29 – 31 May, and attendees included government ministers, experts and stakeholders from agriculture, forestry and the environment. The ASC provided input and expertise from the aquaculture industry.
Michiel Fransen, Head of Standards and Science, and Contessa Kellogg-Winters, Director of Communications, represented the ASC at the event, which involved a number of working groups discussing current and future issues with raising the profile and importance of biodiversity in different sectors and regions.
Contessa delivered a keynote speech to one of the working groups, looking at how biodiversity can be encouraged or promoted using voluntary certifications schemes such as the ASC.
Contessa gave a number of examples of some of the different ways the ASC standards help to promote biodiversity, as well as some of the challenges in achieving large-scale change.
How is the ASC helping to promote biodiversity?
Methods to protect biodiversity vary, as do expectations between different species and industries, and the ASC’s individual standards reflect these challenges. However, some of the examples that Contessa highlighted at the FAO included:
One of the best-known environmental impacts of shrimp farming is the clearing of mangrove forests, which protect the local ecology and promote a great deal of biodiversity. The ASC shrimp standard states that farms may not clear mangrove forests, and in some cases requires that they restore lost mangroves. With shrimp farms often placed in coastal areas, the ASC standard also requires permanent coastal barriers to prevent erosion that could lead to habitat loss.
- Find out more, and watch a short film about a responsible shrimp farm in Vietnam on our Shrimp standard page.
Given the popularity and value of salmon around the world, the importance of promoting responsible farming of this fish cannot be understated, and the ASC standard aims to help mitigate some of the unique biodiversity risks associated with salmon farming.
A key part of the ASC’s salmon standard is the focus on the wider area in which farms are placed, and the requirement for cooperation between farms to ensure an Area-Based Management (ABM) scheme is in place to monitor and mitigate risks related to parasites and pathogens, the management of disease, sea lice, and protect biosecurity. These must cover at least 80% of the species in a given area – even if some of these farms are not ASC-certified. This means a farm seeking certification must work collaboratively with its neighbours to protect local biodiversity and ecology.
- Read more about how our Salmon standard minimizes environmental and social impacts of farms.
The majority of feed used in aquaculture comes from land-based agriculture. This makes it much harder to monitor and control the environmental impact of this feed, which can have complex and opaque supply-chains. The ASC’s feed standard aims to help promote the use of terrestrial crops that are more transparently sourced, from lower-risk areas in terms of environmental impact. The use of wild fish for fish feed and fish oil also adds to the environmental impact of aquaculture, especially if that fish is not responsibly sourced. The feed standard will require that farms ensure more of their wild-caught feed comes from these responsible sources.
- Find out the latest updates in the development of our feed standard.
What are the challenges?
In her keynote address, Contessa highlighted that the rapid growth of ASC certification, despite it being voluntary, shows the economic appeal that farms see in the scheme, and the strength of the market-driven approach. However, she also recognised that such a scheme on its own cannot bring the biodiversity changes at the scale required.
This is why a multi-stakeholder approach is at the heart of everything the ASC does, and why the ASC is proud to be representing the aquaculture industry at multi-stakeholder dialogues such as this, with its opportunity to learn from and influence both governments and experts.
Raising the profile and priority of biodiversity will require contributions from voluntary certification schemes such as the ASC, as well as national governments with their power to create legislation, NGOs and conservationists, and of course all of those involved in meeting the world’s rising demand for food. Meeting this demand without causing irrecoverable damage to our climate and environment will require all of us to work together not just to make more food, but to make it smarter.
Do you ever think about the vital role oceans play for life on earth?
The oceans provide 50% of our oxygen and may be home to as much as 75-80% of the living species of this world, but no one is sure since there are so many species yet to be discovered in its vast depths. The ocean is essentially the heart of our planet. It plays a crucial role in the regulation of our climate and it provides food to people and animals.
However, the health of the ocean and its ability to support an ever-growing population is threatened by human activities including climate change, plastic pollution and overfishing, just to name a few.
World Oceans Day was first proposed by the Canadian government at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and, since 2008, the anniversary is also recognised by the United Nations (UN). The 8th of June has become a yearly special occasion to thank the oceans and reflect on the current status of their health.
It’s a simple fact that, for many of us, the fish we eat is the primary and most frequent contact we have with the ocean. Therefore, the easiest thing we can do to help our oceans is to be more conscious about how we nourish ourselves. What we spend our money on sends a message to fisherman and fish farmers and those who decide what to stock in the places where we shop. So every time we purchase any product in our daily lives, whether we know it consciously or not, we make a powerful choice that reinforces harmful practices or rewards good operators.
Sustainable seafood has made a lot of progress in the last years. For instance, 80-90% of retail and foodservice establishments in the US have a sustainable seafood policy in place. Also, according to figures published in 2015, 14% of seafood is certified worldwide. However, there’s still a lot to do and we as consumers have the power to drive change with our wallet and eating choices. Robust certification programme can protect the marine environment for the wildlife and people who depend upon it.
The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) aims to be the world’s leading certification and labelling programme for responsibly farmed seafood. With its partners, the ASC runs an ambitious programme to transform the world’s seafood markets and promote the best environmental and social aquaculture performance.
Environmentally, farms must show not to harm natural habitats, local biodiversity and ecosystems, fish escapes must be minimised, and the use of medicines before a disease is diagnosed is prohibited. There are strict limits for the use of wild fish as ingredient for feed, and farms must ensure full traceability back to a responsibly managed source.
From a social perspective, farms must ensure to be safe and equitable working environments where employees earn a decent wage and have regulated working hours. They also need to show that their activities does not impact surrounding communities.
So here is an easy action you can take to protect our ocean: next time you decide to shop for seafood support retailers who are committed to sustainable seafood sourcing and look for the green ASC label!
On 16th May ASC hosted a cooking demonstration at SIAL 2018 in Shangai, China. SIAL is Asia’s largest food innovation exhibition and this year ASC attended for the first time to introduce the programme to more than 100,000 attendees from 67 countries.
ASC introduced themselves to the attendees with an information session and cooking demonstration by Chef Jin Liang. More than a hundred professionals including food buyers and suppliers watched as Chef Jin used his renowned culinary skills and the finest ingredients to prepare colorful, tasty, ASC certified seafood delicacies.
The cooking workshop was organised in collaboration with four ASC certified aquaculture companies including Dalian Ocean Island Fisheries, Dalian Ruichi, Liaoning Ande Foods and Baiyang Investment Group, who kindly provided the ASC certified seafood. During the workshop, representatives from the companies shared how the ASC Standards have been strictly followed in all the different production phases including farming, processing, and distribution.
The ASC requires all companies processing certified seafood to have traceability systems in place that ensure that no product mixing or substitution can occur. This assures consumers and seafood-buyers that ASC labelled products come from a certified responsible farm.
Transparency: GSI publishes Sustainability data
The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) has published online in April its 5th set of (2017) sustainability data, presented per company and per region, which covers 14 key sustainability indicators. The pre-competitive and CEO-led GSI currently comprises 17 salmon farming companies – representing ~55% of the global salmon production industry – which have committed to achieving ASC-certification across 100% of their farms by 2020.
The 9 environmental and 5 social sustainability indicators reported upon are: fish escapes, fish mortality, antibiotic use, sea lice counts, sea lice treatments, non-medicinal methods, wildlife interactions, use of marine ingredients in feed, certification and environmental licences; compliance, occupational health & safety, community engagements, direct labour, R&D investments.
Highlights include the fact that over 40% of GSI production is now ASC-certified; over the 5-year period GSI members have reduced the use of medicinal sea lice treatments by 40%. GSI members’ have also reduced their use of fish oil and fishmeal by, respectively, 16% and 15% by continued innovations in the sourcing and efficiency of feed ingredients.
“As GSI members we are acting on our commitment to improve our social and environmental performance, and we know that transparency is an essential element of responsibility and in getting us to where we want to be in the future,” Gerardo Balbontin, GSI Co-Chair and CEO of Blumar, commented in the April 26, 2018 GSI statement.
The GSI Sustainability Report can be found here.
When it comes to the world of sustainability, there are a select few companies that set the standard when it comes to matching philosophy with verifiable best practices. And what you often find amongst that number is an enduring and comprehensive commitment to adopting best practices. While Bamboo Sushi is understandably proud to be distinguished as the first in the nation to have an ASC logo on their menu, this achievement is but one amongst many in their ongoing journey in sustainability.
Bamboo Sushi has a policy of sourcing fish only from plentiful populations, caught using methods that don’t harm the ecosystem and avoid bycatch, from purveyors that provide full traceability of their product. It’s therefore not a surprise that you’ll also see the MSC logo—which accompanies sustainable wild-caught seafood—on their menu as well.
They have a long standing relationship with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and additional certifications held by the restaurant include James Beard Smart Catch— for which they have achieved Leader Status—and the Green Restaurant Association. Bamboo Sushi is also one of the first restaurants in the world to become a certified B Corp, further evidence of their rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
To meet our mission to move aquaculture to a more sustainable basis, ASC is dedicated to working with partners of all sizes and Bamboo is one of our bigger partners, considering it purchased the largest amount of seafood in the state of Oregon. Last year alone, Bamboo Sushi sourced over 200,000 pounds of seafood and nearly 80% of that volume comes from domestic sources, which lowers their overall carbon impact. In fact, they’ve set up a carbon calculator on their website to allow everyone to see their progress as they work to further minimise their footprint. Not only that, but for every $1 earned, they’re offsetting 0.1 tons of carbon by planting 5.76 square meters of seagrass through the Ocean Foundation’s Seagrass Grow Project. So far, that’s translated to 15.2 acres of new seagrass to help prevent coastal erosion, provides important habit for aquatic life and safeguard the overall health of our oceans.
By any measure, Bamboo Sushi is amongst the most progressive restaurants in the country, embedding their dedication to good environmental and social practices in several aspects of their business. When diner’s visit they can enjoy more than a great night out, they can also feel confident that their hosts have made choices that ensure we’ll all be able to enjoy a bountiful variety of seafood for many years to come.