Three oyster farms have become the first in the world to enter assessment against the ASC Bivalves Standard for responsible aquaculture.
Jersey Sea Farms, Jersey Oyster Ltd and Seymour Oysters, all based in Jersey, UK, were recently assessed against the ASC Bivalve Standard.
Tony Legg, Jersey Sea Farms’ owner said: “From day one, we knew that we wanted to achieve ASC certification. We made the decision to get involved with the ASC programme at an early stage by taking part in the pilot audits. By gaining certification against the ASC Bivalve Standard we can show our customers that the farm operates with the highest regard for the environment and local communities.
“Through cooperating with the two other oyster farms on the island that have entered assessment against the ASC standard, Jersey Oyster Company, Britain’s largest oyster farm, and Seymour Oyster Company, we are together looking to place ASC certified Pacific and native oysters in the European market by Christmas”.
“Another milestone for the ASC: the first oyster farms to enter the ASC programme. Fantastic news!” said Chris Ninnes, ASC’s CEO. “I look forward to watching the progress of these assessments with the help of our website e-alert tool and hopefully celebrating the first certified oysters in the market later in the year.”
Jersey Sea Farms was audited by independent, third party certifier Control Union Peru in September this year. Owned and single-handedly operated by Legg, the farm is striving to produce 75 tonnes per annum of top-quality European Native Oysters [Ostrea edulis].
Standards for responsible bivalves farming
The ASC Bivalves Standard was developed by a diverse stakeholder group with hundreds of participants, and carries the most robust global requirements for bivalve farming.
The standard addresses key impacts of bivalves farming such as responsible use of therapeutics and antibiotics, site impacts, protection of natural habitats, pollution and waste management, and labour rights for farm workers.
By meeting the standard, certified farms demonstrate that they use responsible aquaculture practices that minimise their environmental and social impact.
Independent and transparent certification
ASC does not assess the farms itself; independent certifiers carry out the farm audits and decide whether the farm meets the ASC standards. The certifiers are in turn accredited and monitored by the independent organisation Accreditation Services International (ASI).
To ensure full transparency, stakeholders have an opportunity to take part in the certification process. Planned farm audits must be publically announced at least 30 days prior to the assessment, the audit reports are posted on ASC’s website, and a public comment period allows for stakeholder input.