Standard in development – ASC Farm Standard

The alignment process will lead to a single farm-level standard. The aim is to provide greater consistency and harmonise requirements across all farmed seafood species currently targeted by ASC.

Currently, ASC manages a number of separate farm standards covering different species. They all provide industry-leading, robust environmental and social requirements, but because they have been developed at different times their requirements vary on some of the impacts that are common across aquaculture. The aligned Farm Standard will cover all impact areas in one rigourous standard, which includes species-specific requirements where relevant. This alignment will also allow the ASC to more efficiently expand its reach (e.g. adding production systems or new species) and will facilitate the swifter update to specific metrics.

ASC Farm Standard

The ASC Farm Standard

Linked to the ASC Vision, the Scope of the ASC Farm Standard (hereafter “the Standard”) addresses the key negative environmental and social impacts associated with the aquaculture industry. An ASC-certified farm contributes to the ASC Vision by reducing, mitigating or eliminating such negative impacts.

The current ASC species Standards contain 7 Principles, the ASC Farm Standard will have 3 Principles setting effective and credible requirements. The Units of Certification (UoCs) will include various aquaculture production ‘Farm’ systems and some at ‘Processing’ level. The ASC Farm Standard will have production-system specific criteria (where needed/applicable) and species-specific metrics (where needed/applicable).

  • Principle 1 (P1): The UoC operates legally and applies effective business management.
  • Principle 2 (P2): The UoC operates in an environmentally responsible manner.
  • Principle 3 (P3): The UoC operates in a socially responsible manner.

An earlier draft of the Standard (Public Consultation II [March 14 – May 14, 2019]) focused on the ‘Legal’ (P1) and ‘Social’ (P3) Principles. That round of public consultation also included that of revisions to the Certification and Accreditation Requirement (CARv2.2) document, which notably introduced a new Social Auditing Methodology (SAM) including a Social Risk Assessment tool.

Contact person: Marjolein van Gendt

Consultation best practice

The ASC is the only aquaculture certification scheme to be recognised as full member of ISEAL, the global membership association for credible sustainability standards whose members meet internationally accepted best practices.

The ASC’s public consultations follow ISEAL’s Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards, which stipulates that stakeholders have sufficient time and opportunity to provide input on the standard and can see how their input has been taken into account.

Next steps

Feedback from both consultations will be used to adapt the proposals. The Farm Standard’s P1 and P3 requirements, covering legal and social indicators respectively, will go through an additional round of consultation in March/April 2022, and are due to be released in 2022. The Standard will capture evolving best social and environmental aquaculture practices and be streamlined to ensure consistent auditing is possible.

Fish Welfare is was open for public consultations September/October 2021. The next round of public consultation for the remaining P2 indicators will take place in March/April 2022, together with P1 and P3. After this feedback has been collated and reflected upon, a final round of public consultation on the complete proposed P2 will take place in September 2022, with pilots running in parallel. The Farm Standard is scheduled for release in 2023 and targeted to become operational in 2024.


More information

[Page last updated on 26.11.2021]

Consultation period:

8 March - 7 May 2021
Status: Closed

Consultation documents III

Consultation period:

Aug. 19 - Oct. 19, 2016
Status: Closed

Public Consultation I


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