The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) chose ASC as the leading standard today to help it meet its commitment for sustainable change. Together the ASC and GSI will work to significantly reduce the key environmental and social impacts of salmon aquaculture.
The GSI is a leadership initiative established by global farmed salmon producers to make significant progress on industry sustainability. The GSI has 15 member companies; approximately 50 per cent of the global salmon industry.
Chris Ninnes, ASC’s Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted that GSI has committed to meet ASC’s salmon standard. Fish is a high quality protein food and the sector makes a significant and growing contribution to world food security. Salmon is farmed on a worldwide scale with nearly two thirds of all the salmon consumed coming from farms. Given the anticipated farmed sector growth it is very important that the industry manages its aquaculture practices responsibly.”
Recognising responsible farming
The ASC certification programme recognises and rewards responsible farming activities, focusing on the conservation and quality of water resources, no misuse of antibiotics, minimising escapes, compliance with strict feed requirements and social responsibilities.
In line with the ASC standards, the salmon farms within the initiative will be required to disclose an unprecedented amount of farm-level data. The farms will also participate in area-based management (ABM) plans. This spatially divides the marine environment for its uses and accounts for the stresses and threats on the ecosystem, which provides a basis to deal with impacts. There is a scientific consensus that ABMs reduce risks related to pathogens and parasites to wild and farmed fish.
In areas with wild salmon, the farms will monitor sea lice and adhere to strict criteria related to escapes. The suite of escapes requirements aim to move farms towards zero escapes.
The GSI is committed to making sure that the industry can deliver a responsibly produced source of healthy food to feed the growing population, which is predicted to reach nine billion by 2050. Over 84 per cent of the world’s fisheries are already either depleted, over- or fully exploited. This means that natural fisheries will not be able to meet future protein needs.
Alfonso Marquéz de la Plata, chair of the GSI standards committee and CEO of Empresas AquaChile S.A., said: “We cannot choose between a healthy environment and healthy food, we need both. This initiative is a practical approach to achieving both. While meeting the standard at a global level will be a significant challenge, this is a major commitment from the salmon farming industry and we hope that through GSI collaboration, we can get there together.”
The GSI will achieve its aim through global collaboration and research, pooling of resources and sharing knowledge.
Currently the GSI is focusing on biosecurity, feed and nutrition and meeting industry standards.