Arctic Fish has become the very first aquaculture producer to achieve Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) Certification in Iceland.
The Dyrafjordur and Önundafjordur farms, both part of Arctic Fish’s sea farm operations on the Westfjords, a large peninsula in northwestern Iceland, are certified to produce ASC rainbow trout. The on-site assessment was conducted by SCS Global Services, an independent, third-party certification company.
“Iceland is still a small player in the sea farming on international scale with only 4 ths. tonnes harvested last year of salmon and trout and expected to more than double this year mainly from the Westfjords,” said Sigurður Pétursson CEO of Arctic Fish. “There is good potential for future growth and the good environment in Iceland for sustainable and eco-friendly farming methods. ASC certification of our farming operations helps our small farming operation to get international recognition which we expect to assist us in the marketing of our nice products. We are very pleased to have the ASC certification and I am proud of my staff for all the preparation and work they have put into the certification process.”
Chris Ninnes, CEO of the ASC said, “It is a pleasure to welcome Arctic Fish to the ASC programme. The certification of the first farm in Iceland is a great example of how producers are meeting the increased market demand for ASC certified products around the world.”
“Aquaculture is the fastest growing sector of food production and is integral to global food security. As demand for farmed fish continues to rise, it is increasingly important that producers operate at a level that minimises impacts to the environment, provides fair and proper conditions for those who work on the farms, and that is considerate of the people in the communities where the farms are situated. By becoming ASC certified, Arctic Fish has committed to doing just that. This achievement sets them apart as leaders in their country and in the larger effort to improve the industry.”
Arctic Fish was established in 2011 and initially started with a single sea site for trout. Over time, it has grown into an operation covering every aspect of fish farming. In addition to increasing sea farming operations under its subsidiary Arctic Sea Farm, the company operates Arctic Smolt, a recirculation hatchery, and Arctic Oddi, a processing facility for the fish nurtured in the Westfjords of Iceland.
Situated in the crystal clear waters off of the Icelandic shoreline, Arctic Fish uses naturally occurring warm springs in their hatchery and green electrical energy. Iceland’s ecosystem confers a great number of advantages at the farm site, including a natural inhibition of viral diseases and most pests, and Arctic Fish does not use any antibiotics during its production.
The ASC is an independent, international organization that aims to transform the aquaculture industry to a higher standard through a global certification and labelling program with a focus on good management practices. The programme meets international codes of good conduct, including FAO Guidelines for eco-labelling and ISEAL Standard Setting Codes.
The ASC standards address the negative impacts of fish farming, including dependence on wild fish for feed; inadequate supply of seed; lack of appropriate techniques; discharges of organic matter, phosphorus, and nitrogen; fish escapes; transfer of diseases and parasites between farmed and wild fish; the introduction of non-indigenous species and the use of therapeutants and antibiotics. It also mandates that all workers have freedom of association, employment contracts inline with ILO regulations, no child-labour and that the communities in which farms are situated be consulted on farm operations.
Since the first farm was certified in 2012, participation in the ASC scheme has grown nearly 98 percent each year. Despite the fact that the programme is still in a start-up phase, at the time of press, there are currently ASC certified farms in 29 countries and more than 5,000 consumer products available for purchase worldwide.