Today, the shrimp farmer Sociedad Nacional Galapagos (SONGA) received the official ASC certificates for its cluster farms Naturisa Farm, Josefina-Rio Nilo Farm and Camaron Camino Real Farm, as well as for its Lebama Farm, all situated in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
The certificates were handed over to SONGA by Jing Dong of Control Union, the independent certification assessment body (CAB) that carried out the farm assessments, during the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo 2016 in Qingdao, China. The now certified sites were assessed by Control Union Peru this spring together with another two farms, Agromarina and Salmo, which are also expected to gain ASC certification.
“I would like to congratulate SONGA on achieving ASC certification for its farms,” said John White, ASC Development Director. “Their dedication to making the aquaculture industry in Ecuador more responsible is commendable. The challenge that faces the sector globally is huge. We are pleased SONGA has taken a leadership position, and we hope that others will follow their example. SONGA’s decision to pursue ASC certification gives consumers confidence that shrimp can be produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way.”
“SONGA is proud to be certified to the highest standard for shrimp aquaculture. It is increasingly important to be able to show to our clients around the world that we use responsible farming methods and minimises the impacts of our operations, and being certified to ASC standard allows us to do so. We have seen a growing interest in certified shrimp from the US, Europe, China and other Asian countries and our certification will help us grow in these important markets,” said Rodrigo Laniado, SONGA CEO
“I am delighted that SONGA is now able to show its responsible approach to shrimp farming. We believe that certification adds value to farms by acting a proof of their commitment to responsible farming. Together with The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), WWF Guatemala/Mesoamerica and WWF Ecuador have supported SONGA through the Farmers In Transition Fund (FIT) that aim is to encourage farms to seek ASC certification, thereby driving the change of the aquaculture sector towards sustainability,” said Pablo Guerrero, Fisheries Director, WWF Ecuador/WWF LAC
SONGA operates shrimp farms that represent 75% of its production, two hatcheries, a research facility and a processing plant with the help of its 1000 employees. In 2014, the farm produced more than 12,000 tons of shrimp, which has allowed it to become one of the main shrimp exporters in Ecuador as well as a reliable supplier to the European, North American and Asian markets. In 2015, SONGA was the number one Ecuadorian shrimp exporter to the US, South Korea and mainland China. Aquaculture certification is as an integral part of SONGA’s production process, allowing them to guarantee high quality and safety to its customers.
There are currently 63 farms certified against the ASC Shrimp Standard across the globe producing 91.076 metric tons of certified shrimp, and another 22 shrimp farms in assessment waiting for the outcome of their assessments. Out of the farms certified, 8 farms originate in Ecuador with a further 15 farms in Latin America (8 in Belize, 8 in Honduras and one in Nicaragua).