The Aquaculture Stewardship Council is an independent, international non-profit organisation that manages the world’s leading certification and labelling programme for responsible aquaculture.
A world where aquaculture plays a major role in supplying food and social benefits for humanity whilst minimising negative impacts on the environment.
To transform aquaculture towards environmental sustainability and social responsibility using efficient market mechanisms that create value across the chain.
We work with aquaculture producers, seafood processors, retail and foodservice companies, scientists, conservation groups and consumers to:
- Recognise and reward responsible aquaculture through the ASC aquaculture certification programme and seafood label.
- Promote best environmental and social choice when buying seafood.
- Contribute to transforming seafood markets towards sustainability.
The considerable, often unintentional, adverse impacts associated with aquaculture, including the overuse of anti-biotics and poor site management, are reduced by ASC certification. By applying more than 150 performance indicators, the ASC helps to move the aquaculture industry towards sustainability with standards that:
- Help protect the surrounding ecosystems and biodiversity.
- Regulates where farms can be sited to protect vulnerable nature areas.
- Proactively prevent fish escapes.
- Preserve the quality of the water.
- Mandate strict criteria for resources use and sustainable feed.
- Regulate feed practices, reducing the amount of fish feed that drops to the water below.
- Set stringent controls for the use of antibiotics.
- Reduce the use of pesticides and chemicals.
- Require best practices that combat the spread of illness and parasites between farmed fish and wild fish.
The ASC also ensures that the social rights and safety of those who work on the farms and live in the local communities are safeguarded. Employees working on ASC certified farms must have fair working conditions and contracts as mandated by the International Labour Organization. No child labour is permitted, and all workers must have free association and access to a safe work environment.
To maintain its independent position, and to ensure that consumers can trust that farms in the ASC programme have met stringent performance criteria, we set the standard but do not assess fish farms. Certificates are issued by an independent conformity assessment body (CAB). The CAB, or certifier, carries out the assessment of the farms and decides whether they meet the necessary requirements to become ASC certified. This practice referred to as third party certification and it is widely recognised as the highest level of independent assessment.
In addition to the ASC farm standards, sites may also become chain of custody certified (CoC). CoC certification is required at each step in the supply chain for any product carrying the ASC logo. Therefore, you can rest assured that any product carrying the ASC logo or trademark can be traced throughout the supply chain to an ASC certified source and that it has been separated from fish without certification during processing.