Regular operational reviews ensure the continued efficiency of the various ASC standards. They are focused on areas where the performance of a particular standard is not as anticipated, or may not deliver on the intent as set out in the ASC’s Theory of Change. This is why we’re embarking upon a new ‘Fish Welfare’ project…

Contact person: Janneke Aelen – Standards Coordinator, Standards & Science

ASC Project: Developing new Fish Health and Fish Welfare indicators


Animal – including fish – welfare is increasingly considered as a key factor in defining ‘responsible’ production and determining the social acceptability of an animal production system. The quality of products coming from these systems are more and more judged on this aspect. This gives producers the opportunity to differentiate products with higher welfare, resulting in improved market access and reputation, or a price premium for niche markets.

Improved animal welfare does not only affect product quality through differentiation. Food safety issues are closely linked to animal welfare issues as well, as stress factors and welfare conditions influence disease susceptibility and in its turn consumer risk to food-borne infections. There is also a win-win potential for improved (cost-related) productivity when aspects of fish welfare are optimised.

The main objective of this ASC work is to expand the current indicators on fish welfare in the existing standards to a more complete and comprehensive set of indicators across all species currently in the portfolio of ASC, implementing the vast amount of research that recently has been carried out on this topic. It is foreseen that the indicators developed as a result of the ASC’s Fish Welfare project, will be embedded within the aligned ASC Farm Standard currently in development.

Within this objective ASC seeks to select measures that meet the aims of ISEAL and ASC standard setting codes, as well as taking into considerations the complexities that come with the topic of animal welfare.  All set indicators should either directly or indirectly contribute to fish welfare in aquaculture practices and represent best practices known in this field.

ASC launched this new ‘Fish Health and Welfare’ project with an initial Public Consultation in 2019 (September 20-October 20, 2019) of three (3) documents: the draft Terms of Reference (ToR), the summary/outline of the White Paper, and a brief ASC Position Paper on Fish Welfare. These documents can be found below.

Timeline: ASC’s Fish Health & Welfare project

[Page last updated 17.04.2020]


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