On 15th December the Dutch Retail Association (CBL) announced that supermarkets in the Netherlands will strive to only sell farmed seafood that meet the ASC standards for responsible aquaculture (or equivalent) by 2016.
“This sends a clear message of retail’s strong support for the ASC. Such commitments will drive the changes towards certification at the farm-level. It is an important step for securing the demand for responsible aquaculture throughout the value chain.” said Chris Ninnes, CEO of ASC. The growing interest in ASC from retail is not contained to the Netherlands. Major European retailers such as Migros and Edeka, and recently South Africa’s Pick ‘n Pay, have committed to the ASC.
Farmed species such as salmon, Pangasius, Tilapia and shrimp are popular with consumers and often purchased in the supermarket. If certified products are available in the supermarket soon, this will be a big step towards providing customers fish from farms that can clearly demonstrate that they have been produced in an environmental and socially responsible manner. “Our customers should feel confident that they always buy responsible seafood, whether it is farmed or wild caught. We are pleased that farmed fish that meets the ASC standard will be available shortly.” said Marc Jansen, Director of Consumer Affairs and Quality of CBL.
The first farm to be ASC certified is expected in early 2012. Consumers can expect to find ASC certified tilapia on shelf in the first quarter of 2012. Pangasius that meet the ASC Standard is expected to be available in quarter two next year.
The ASC ecolabel
The ASC will launch its own ecolabel in the beginning of 2012. The ecolabel helps consumers make positive and responsible choices when it comes to seafood. It tells buyers at a glance that the fish is farmed with responsible methods that minimise environmental and social impacts.
Constant Mulder, CEO of Anova Seafood is positive about the developments: ‘Fish farmers have aimed for responsible farming methods for years. We are very happy that we can now make this direction visible to our customers.”
Fish in the supermarket
The total turnover in fish, crustaceans and shellfish in Dutch supermarkets amounted to € 526 million in 2010. Consumers now buy three quarters of their total expenditure and 85% of the total volume of fish, crustaceans and shellfish purchased from supermarket.