In August 2019, China’s largest abalone producer became the first in the country to achieve certification under the ASC Abalone Standard. The achievement for Fujian China-Singapore Evervest Co., Ltd (FCSE) represented a shift in focus toward green aquaculture in China, with the farm’s ASC certification leading by example for other producers.
The farm is located in Lianjiang county, Fujian Province in the waters surrounding Datan Island in the East Sea. These waters provide several natural advantages including moderate salinity and abundant dissolved oxygen, which allows the farmed Japanese abalone to thrive.
According to FCSE president Mr Wu Yongshou, gaining ASC certification was paramount to the company’s vision of gaining access to high-end markets and helping other Chinese abalone farms to review and improve their practices to increase their sustainability.
“Farmed Abalone in China are currently mainly fed with kelp, and consume more than a third of the country’s kelp production. Given its need for clean production water and use of seaweed for feed, abalone farming is a model industry for green and sustainable farming in China,” he said.
“We wanted to obtain international recognition of this green and sustainable farming through ASC certification, as it is recognised as the most popular standard worldwide for best practice and performance.”
Traceability system for feed
Some of the changes implemented by the farm in order to achieve certification included the replacement of styrofoam floating rafts with sturdier wave-resistant alternatives, to reduce pollution. Improved management of farm vessels’ discharge into the ocean was also put in place. Another important measure saw FCSE team up with Shanghai Ocean University, to develop a traceability system where feed, the marine environment and water quality changes are monitored. Farm employees also benefitted in terms of their social wellbeing.
“We also sought to improve the environment for our farm workers, enhance production safety, and pay attention to employee health and rights. We’ve improved accommodation conditions by building new apartments, toilets and showers on Datan Island, and this has greatly improved their living standards.” said Mr Wu Yongshou.
New facilities for workers
Changes to social conditions are felt keenly by employees such as Mr Dong Xiankun, who has worked on the farm since March 2016. He said that even small improvements such as the erection of sunshades and equipping raft platoons with first aid had made a noticeable difference.
“The construction of new dormitories and sanitary facilities in Datan Island, which is close to the farm’s facilities and abalone rafts, enables employees to have a good rest during production. “The farm raft platoon is equipped with first aid items and medicines, which means that minor injuries can be dealt with promptly,” he said.
Despite achieving certification, Mr Wu Yongshou said further improvements were planned which include the installation of technology to reduce manual labour and further improve safety, as well as continuing to reduce plastic pollution.
“Traditional farming activities are very hard and tiring and the working environment is poor. ASC certification and ASC requirements can improve the production and living environment of workers so that they can work with dignity and with regular and fair payment”, said Mr Wu Yongshou