The Villa Arctic AS Jarfjord Farm in Norway is the first salmon farm to be awarded Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification. The farm’s ASC labelled products hit the market next week.
The ASC celebrates this important development; one that has been eagerly anticipated by the market and diversifies the number of ASC certified species available to buyers. “This is a crucial first step for the salmon aquaculture industry and we congratulate Villa Arctic AS for their great effort in achieving ASC certification for Jarfjord Farm. Salmon is one of the most popular species and in prime demand – both companies and consumers will benefit from Villa’s efforts in demonstrating environmental and social responsibility,” says ASC CEO Chris Ninnes.
Villa Organic AS, the parent company of Villa Arctic AS, has been a leading innovator in sustainable aquaculture and was one of the stakeholders involved in developing the ASC Salmon Standard.
“The ASC certification process has needed great focus through the whole Villa organisation. Although it has been positive, it has also been very challenging. It has been a very useful and interesting process. From several of the seven focus areas in the standard Villa now has new and better routines and standards,” explains Vidar Skaar, CEO at Villa Arctic AS.
Villa Organic AS has two main owners, Salmar ASA and Lerøy Seafood Group ASA. The ASC certified salmon will be sold through these companies. Villa Arctic’s total production of salmon was approximately 12,000 tons in 2013 and is mainly located in Finnmark, Norway.
The ASC Salmon Standard aims to address the key negative environmental and social impacts of salmon farming and requires an unprecedented level of transparency.
The farm gained ASC certification following an independent, third party assessment against the global ASC Salmon Standard conducted by the certification body Institute for Market technology (IMO).
ASC chain of custody
Lerøy Seafood Group has achieved ASC chain of custody for its sales, distribution and value added processing chain , also with smoking, for ASC certified salmon and is now able to offer the market a wide variety of ASC certified salmon products.
“Lerøy Seafood Group has been involved in the development of the ASC standard since 2004, and is proud to offer an ASC certified sale and distribution chain for ASC salmon to the market,” says CEO Henning Beltestad.
The ASC certified salmon will be sold to customers in Japan, USA and Europe. One of their customers, IKEA, has decided to only serve and sell salmon from ASC certified farms in their stores by the end of August 2015. Thanks to the recent certification of the Lerøy farms, IKEA will start to offer salmon from the ASC certified farms in Norway in 2014.
More salmon farms on the way
As a member of the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI), Lerøy is committed to meeting the ASC Salmon Standard by 2020. There are 15 member companies in GSI which represents approximately 70 per cent of the global salmon industry.
Lerøy Hydrotech – Hognseset Nord farm completed assessment against the ASC Salmon Standard in 2013 and the final report will be published shortly. Three more Lerøy farms were also audited in October/November last year, Lerøy Aurora – Årøya, Lerøy Aurora – Gourtesjouhka and Lerøy Aurora – Solheim. Additionally, Macquarie Farms owned by Tassal Operations Pty Ltd in Australia will be audited on 10 January, 2014.
The ASC Salmon Standard development
The development of an ASC standard for salmon began in 2004, when WWF created the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue, a series of roundtables that included hundreds of farmers, retailers, NGOs, scientists and other important stakeholders aiming to address the key impact of salmon aquaculture industry.
In June 2012 the ASC standard and Audit Manual for salmon were launched and auditors trained to assess farms against the standard.
The ASC Salmon Standard aims to address the key negative environmental and social impacts of salmon farming and requires unprecedented levels of transparency on farm performance data, sourcing of feed ingredients, disease transmission between farms and wild salmon populations, controlling escapes into the wild, use of therapeutics and antibiotics, site impacts, the presence of GMO products in feed and labour issues on farms.