Piscifactoria Del Alba is the first farm to gain ASC certification in Spain. The farm received the certificate after an audit performed by Acoura Marine Limited, which found the company to be in compliance with the ASC Freshwater Trout Standard at each of its three rainbow trout farm sites Alba I, Alba II and Alba III.
“We are delighted to welcome Piscifactoria Del Alba into the ASC programme”, said Esther Luiten, ASC Commercial Director. “As the very first Spanish farm to achieve ASC certification, Piscifactoria del Alba joins a distinguished group of producers who have met strict criteria to show that they care for nature and the people who work on and live near their farms. Operations such as theirs are examples that a passion for producing fish in a way that honours the environment is a good business decision”.
“Currently, the European market is demanding companies to be more socially and environmentally responsible”, said Fidel Cabero Díaz, Quality and Food Safety Manager, Piscifactoria del Alba S.A. “Our company has been working for years to be respectful with our environment and for this reason we decided to pursue the ASC certification. We are sure this will enable us to expand our market towards those people who, like us, care about the environment and the people around us.”
Piscifactoría del Alba is located in the north of Spain, in the Principality of Asturias. The company has been dedicated to the production of rainbow trout for more than 50 years. The farm supplies trout to Colruyt in Spain and exports to multiple European markets including Belgium, Denmark, and Germany.
“A sustainable fish assortment is a priority to Colruyt Group”, says Michel Jenquin, who buys fish for the group. “Most of our aquaculture fish is ASC certified. By supporting the first Spanish producer of ASC trout, we will be able to offer the first ASC certified frozen trout in our different store formats from now on. It allows us to meet the increasing demand of our customers for more sustainable products.”
The production process for Piscifactoria Del Alba begins in the Alba River, in the heart of the Redes Natural Park, a Biosphere Reserve. The Alba River is known for its excellent water quality. In order to preserve optimal natural conditions, the farm works to control and reduce any environmental impact generated by its activity.
The Spanish aquaculture sector has received a great deal of attention in the last decade. According to Eurostat data from 2014 cited by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, one-sixth of European marine products originate in Spain. Due to the high quality of inland water which is well suited to farming the species, rainbow trout production is expected to drive the further expansion of the country’s inland aquaculture business.
About the ASC Freshwater Trout Standard
The ASC Freshwater Trout Standard focuses on the social and environmental impact of trout farming. ASC certified farms must not be sited in High Conservation Value Areas (HCVA) and must take steps to minimising fish escapes. Additionally, since trout farming often occurs along rivers, no more than 50 per cent of the river water flow can be diverted through the farm. ASC certified trout farms are required to measure various water parameters (nitrogen, phosphorus, oxygen levels, etc.) at regular intervals and remain within set limits. All farms must develop and implement a Fish Health Management Plan, including detailed steps for biosecurity management, under supervision of a veterinarian. The use of antibiotics and medicine is strictly prohibited and the introduction of exotic trout species into an area is not allowed, unless they are farmed in a closed system.
Furthermore, in line with the core principles of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the ASC Farm Standards prohibit any form of forced labour. Farms must demonstrate that they are a safe working environment, and that employees have good working conditions, fair wages and regulated working hours. Farms are also required to regularly consult surrounding communities to ensure they are good neighbours and address any potential community impact form the farm.
About the ASC certification programme
The Aquaculture Stewardship Council is a global organisation working internationally with aquaculture producers, seafood processors, retailers and foodservice companies, scientists, conservation groups, social NGOs and the public to promote the best environmental and social practices in aquaculture.
The number of ASC certified farms has rapidly increased since the first farm was certified in 2012. At present, there are 39 ASC certified trout farms in the programme and a further 15 are currently under assessment. At the time of writing, there are 449 ASC certified farms in 38 countries all over the world. Since January 2016, farms in 14 new countries including Brazil, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Japan, Madagascar, New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the USA and now Spain have joined the programme.