Best Aquaculture Partners has become the first shrimp farm to gain ASC certification in Thailand. The farm is located in the Suratthanee province and has been assessed by Control Union Peru (CUP), an internationally accredited conformity assessment body.
“I am glad to welcome Best Aquaculture Partners to the ASC programme,” said Chris Ninnes, CEO of the ASC. “Shrimp is among the most popular foods around the world and production has increased steadily over recent years. However, the increase in production can come with unwanted consequences for the environment and society. This certification is a significant step towards transforming the aquaculture industry in Thailand. I hope that this achievement by Best Aquaculture Partners will serve as an example of the importance of instituting good practices to protect the environment and safeguard workers and local communities.”
The market demand for farmed shrimp is strong and European buyers have responded positively to news of this achievement. Lidl Germany has committed to purchasing only certified fish and seafood by 2018 and applauded the news of Best Aquaculture’s Partner’s certification.
Florian Schütze, Head of Sustainability for Purchasing at LIDL International said, “Thailand is one of the largest producers of shrimp and an important sourcing country, and we welcome the expansion of the ASC programme to this region. The ASC programme plays an essential role in meeting the ambitious sustainability targets in our seafood purchasing policy. Lidl actively supports the process and we hope that more farms in Thailand will follow the Best Aquaculture Partners lead and get ASC certified in the near future to ensure we can bring to our customers responsibly farmed seafood.”
Thailand is one of the worlds’ largest exporters of farmed shrimp. The Thai shrimp production and processing industry is highly successful and has greatly contributed to the country’s economic development. With more than $1.9 million in shrimp exported from the country in 2014, the industry plays a crucial role in providing vital income generating opportunities to the people and it is growing still.
The ASC Shrimp Standard was created to address the most significant environmental and social impacts of shrimp aquaculture. The standard includes indicators that ensure farms protect critical habitats such as mangrove forests and wetlands, do not use antibiotics, and have a waste water treatment system is in place.
However, the environment is not the only concern and, alongside the rigorous environmental requirements, the ASC certification imposes strict social standards based on the core principles of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). No child labour or any form of forced labour is allowed and employees must work in a safe environment, receive decent wages and have regulated working hours. Farms must operate in an open, fair and transparent manner towards their workers and support and engage with local communities to ensure their voices are heard and their needs are taken into account.