If you want to read more about the specific indicators/requirements regarding this topic [Criterion 2.3 – Minimising wildlife interactions] 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?
Aquaculture operations are often placed where there is existing wildlife. This may lead to harmful interactions such as the predation or injury of farmed species, and/or the harming of wild species (e.g. by entanglement in farming operations equipment). And where wild populations are used as broodstock, the potential extraction of threatened and protected species and interbreeding with captive populations could lead to negative impacts.
Farms should thus ensure that they have minimal impact(s), protect the health and genetic integrity of wild populations, and minimise both accidental and intentional mortalities of predators and other wildlife; and no mortalities when it comes to threatened and protected species.
Contact person: Jill Swasey
Key considerations regarding the proposed wildlife indicators
- Specific mortality limits
The draft indicators move away from default mortality limits with the recognition that species populations can vary considerably by region, and for certain populations, a limit of even two (as set in some of the current Standards) animals can be detrimental. In its place the revised indicators direct that independent environmental assessments must detail wildlife species likely to interact with the site and designations of those species, along with methods on all non-lethal actions, root cause analysis and implementation of corrective action for each mortality event, and reporting requirement. ASC’s intent is to deter and mitigate all interactions, and therefore propose no longer defining any allowable limits but enhancing actions taken to avoid mortality events.
- Species interaction
Wildlife interactions seeks to consider all wildlife with the exception of vermin, with special focus on threatened and endangered species. The term ‘protected and threatened species’ is being used to capture “endangered, threatened, protected (ETP) and vulnerable species” and will require application of the precautionary principle where species designations may vary. Designations will be according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and “Protected” species are those that have legal protections under CITES or national and other international designations. The criterion has been expanded to include the use of wild populations in broodstock. ASC seeks to further define and justify the appropriate species groups (e.g. mammals, reptiles, sharks etc.), as the variation across a group can be considerable in terms of population impacts. Additional information is needed to develop clear guidance around protected and threatened species where designation may conflict with regionally permitted harvest or related activities.