An estimated 70 per cent of farmed aquatic species are dependent on feed; and it represents a major component of the environmental and social footprint of aquaculture.  

Feed is thus important for the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) to define precisely what constitutes responsible and sustainable fish feed production. The environmental and social footprints of  aquafeed is made all the more important since aquaculture is the fastest-growing animal protein production sector in the world and is forecast by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to provide two thirds of seafood destined for human consumption by 2030.

Contact person: Michiel Fransen

Standard in development – Feed

The global ASC Feed Standard will act as a tool to help recognise and reward responsible aquaculture feed and will be applicable to all ASC farm standards. It will also provide an additional mechanism for producers and retailers eager to minimise and mitigate environmental and social impacts throughout their supply chain; and provide more traceability and transparency to their stakeholders, including on topics such as GMOs. It is also important to remember that the sustainability-conscious trend to decrease the proportion of marine ingredients in feed results in a greater proportion of plant ingredients being used, thus ‘shifting’ some of the various feed production impacts onto land. These – too – need mitigating and the ASC Feed Standard proposes to address these issues.

The Feed Standard

The production of the feed’s raw material  ̶  marine and terrestrial ingredients — raises issues throughout the feed supply chain. These can include habitat loss, over-harvesting, biodiversity impacts, pollution, poor labour conditions, human rights abuses and lack of community consultation, among others. These social and environmental issues will be addressed by the ASC Feed Standard, which will also include other key sustainability indicators such as greenhouse gas emissions, water and energy consumption etc.

The principles, criteria and indicators of the Feed Standard will be verified at the feed mill level. Mills will among others need to have a Responsible Sourcing Policy to demonstrate policies and management processes are in place relating to sourcing of all types of ingredients that represent more than 1% of total ingredients by weight. Such Policy will also include a commitment to continuous improvement in relation to the sustainability levels of the primary sources of the ingredients used for the manufacture of all feed. When completed, the Feed Standard certification process will follow rigorous requirements as outlined in the ASC Certification and Accreditation Requirements.

Concurrently, the ASC is also running a process (see Aligned Standard) to simplify and harmonise the structure of all current standards aiming to improve implementation efficiency, simplify accreditation and auditor training, promote further program uptake and to facilitate the expansion of the farm standards to cover new species and production systems.

Timeline : New Standard – Feed

Consultation period:

Aug. 21 - Oct. 21, 2017
Status: Closed

Public Consultation II

Consultation period:

June 30 - Sept. 11, 2015
Status: Closed

Public Consultation I


Received feedback

Consultation activities:

Next to digital outreach to stakeholders, there where also 4 regional outreach events organized to elaborate on the initial draft of the ASC Responsible Feed Standard and discuss with stakeholders on the content. The regional workshops where organised in:

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