Today the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) hosted an update meeting at Boston’s Seafood Expo North America.

Over 70 participants came to hear the latest news from ASC and listen to the experiences of Chilean salmon producer AquaChile and North American retailer Loblaw at the session moderated by Merrielle Macleod, Program Officer of the World Wildlife Fund.

AquaChile’s CEO, and Co-chair of the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI), Alfonso Marquez talked about GSI’s commitment to ASC, the advances they have made towards greater sustainability, as well as the challenges the industry faces in ensuring improvements on the water. While, Loblaw’s Senior Director, Sustainability, Melanie Agopian reflected on business opportunities for ASC certified seafood.

ASC’s Commercial Marketing Manager Esther Luiten provided an update on the current market uptake of ASC certified products, covering volumes available and opportunities for the US market.

During the session, ASC’s CEO Chris Ninnes discussed the ASC program’s growth and development over the last year, including an overview of the standards now available and ASC’s cooperation with the two other major international certification programs in farmed seafood, the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) and GLOBALG.A.P.

“We’ve had quite a year, following the GSI commitment in 2013 we now have five ASC certified salmon farms and salmon products are already available in the market including, for example, in the Netherlands and Japan,” said Chris. “In total 72 farms are certified. In only 20 months we have reached 955 approved ASC certified products in 36 countries. And, it shouldn’t be too long before bivalves, abalone, freshwater trout and shrimp products become available as well.

“I want to thank the farms and companies that have committed to ASC certification for their support for responsible aquaculture. In doing so they join a market for responsible seafood which is growing in global significance.”

Traceability assurance

Displaying the ASC logo assures consumers that their ASC labelled seafood can be traced back through the supply chain to a responsibly managed fish farm.

In order to achieve chain of custody certification each company in the supply chain must meet strict requirements and have in place traceability systems that ensure no product mixing or substitutions can occur.

“We at Loblaw are committed to sourcing 100 per cent of our seafood from sustainable sources, including farmed seafood,” Melanie explained.

“Loblaw was the first food retailer in North America to offer ASC certified products – we are proud of what we have achieved, we not only ensure that the seafood we sell is responsibly sourced but, importantly, we help raise customers’ awareness of the need to buy responsibly sourced seafood – and through the ASC logo they can be confident of the provenance of their fish purchase.”

In total, almost 300 companies globally can process and sell ASC certified and labelled products.

Global Salmon Initiative

GSI represents approximately 70 per cent of the global farmed salmon industry. GSI is focused on significant improvements across the three pillars of sustainability: environmental impact, social responsibility and economic sustainability. All GSI members have committed to meeting the ASC Salmon Standard by 2020 as a reference point for their sustainable progress.

Seafood Expo North America is the largest annual meeting of seafood suppliers and industry in North America, featuring over 1,000 exhibiting companies from around the world.

The ASC is exhibiting at this year’s Seafood Expo North America until 18 March at booth 273.

Published on
Monday, 17 March 2014
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