The Aquaculture Stewardship Council is sorry to see that a few retailers have decided to halt sales of pangasius. When farmed responsibly, and according to robust environmental and social criteria as defined in the ASC Pangasius Standard, buyers and consumers can have confidence in their selection of pangasius for their families.
All ASC certified seafood adhere to strict guidelines to ensure they minimise the negative environmental impacts of farming, while also protecting the rights of workers by insisting that all farms in the programme offer employees contracts in keeping with ILO regulations and good working conditions.
Pangasius farms certified to the ASC standard can only be located in areas approved for aquaculture, and are required to measure various water parameters including nitrogen, phosphorus, and oxygen levels, at regular intervals to ensure they remain within set limits for optimal growing conditions. Strict procedures must be followed to make sure that waste water does not pollute the ecosystem.
Farms must also adhere to rigorous requirements to minimise disease outbreaks, must not use antibiotics unless truly necessary and then can only do so under the supervision of a veterinarian. As with all ASC standards, no antibiotics on the list of the World Health Organizations list of Critically Important Antimicrobials for human health can be used on a farm.
Because pangasius can be farmed efficiently, with low land use and limited use of feed, and can be produced in a way that respects the environment and communities, we feel there is space for the product in the competitive white fish market. it is an excellent and nutritious source of protein and it is well known for its relative low prices. More importantly, research has shown that because the fillets are boneless, mildly flavoured and easy to prepare, it is an excellent “entry” fish and encourages consumers to engage with seafood and go onto experiment with other varieties of seafood.
The pangasius farmers in the ASC programme, including CP Vietnam Corporation and Thuan An are two real-world examples of the benefits that certification can bring. In their case studies, both speak about how their decision to pursue certification led to improvements on the farm including upgrades to waste water treatment, better feed practices, and steps to reduce fish mortality and improved staff education and training.
The ASC standard is frequently mentioned as the strongest certification on the market. We are dedicated to keeping it that way through consistent review in order to ensure that the standard reflects the best practices in aquaculture. To that end, we currently have research underway documenting the benefits of implementing ASC standards on the farms in order to ensure our certification continues to meet the needs of the market.