ASC today responded to a report from the Changing Markets Foundation about the impacts of some feed used in aquaculture.
ASC standards include requirements to minimise the environmental impacts of the sourcing and use of feed. This is such an important area for the industry, ASC has set requirements for the traceability of the components used in feed and continues to advance the sustainability of the raw materials over time. This year ASC will release a standalone Feed Standard that will encompass all ingredients, whether land-based or from the sea, and will require ASC certified farms to source feed from ASC certified feed mills.
The new ASC Feed Standard will require ongoing improvements from feed mills until their marine ingredients are only sourced from fisheries that are certified against the Marine Stewardship Council or equivalent.
However, only focusing on marine ingredients risks oversimplifying the impacts of highly complex supply chains that go far beyond the aquaculture industry. For example, the impacts of terrestrial crop ingredients, such as soy, corn, rice, and palm oil, can be just as significant if not handled responsibly. For this reason, the ASC Feed Standard also covers the responsible sourcing of terrestrial ingredients with regards to deforestation/conversion-free production.
All food production creates environmental and social impacts if not done in a responsible manner. We believe the solution to these complex issues is not simply removing certain types of ingredients, but ensuring that those farms and feed mills that are acting responsibly can demonstrate this to consumers. The ASC logo provides this demonstration, and is only awarded after an independent audit by third-party auditors.
The many and varied impacts of all food production mean it can be overwhelming for consumers to know where to look for responsibly sourced food. Fortunately, the ASC label for farmed fish covers not only the responsible sourcing of fish feed and fish oil, but also the responsible behaviour of the farms themselves – including environmental impacts such as minimising medications and chemicals, and social impacts such as treating staff and neighbours fairly.