To learn more about the requirements for Farm Escapes, watch the presentation narrated by Michiel Fransen, Head of Standards and Science.
If you want to read more about the specific indicators/requirements regarding this topic [Criterion 2.5: Minimising Escapes] and other information relating to the ‘Alignment’ and draft ASC Farm Standard (including specific questions part of the Stakeholder Survey), please click here.
These issues are also currently addressed within the existing ASC species Standards: all of ASC’s 11-species Standards can be found here.
Why is this an issue?
Farmed fish can escapes as a result of internal and/or external factors, such as human errors or natural events. As well as economic losses to the producer, escapees pose risks as regards to ecological, pathogenic and genetic impacts to local populations and ecosystems.
The level of impact depends on frequency (mass escape event vs. chronic leakage), intensity (i.e., number) of escapes, whether the species is native or genetically dissimilar to native species, non-native or naturalised, location of escape event in relationship to wild populations, and the overall vulnerability of wild populations and the local ecosystem. Escaping fertilised eggs also pose a risk, especially for species that can reproduce during grow-out, or when farmed species interact with wild populations surrounding the farm.
This is why the proposed ASC Farm Standard aims to ensure escapes be minimised as much as possible.
Contact person: Michiel Fransen
Key considerations for defining metric escape limits
Although not commonly applied across all ASC Standards, several of the finfish Standards do include metric escape limits, with approaches and limits varying considerably. This makes the alignment of such indicators challenging.
The key concerns revolve around two elements:
- Accuracy of counting;
- Determining if fish have escaped or otherwise been lost whilst in-culture.