Aquaculture produces over half of the seafood eaten around the world and is vital in providing healthy, affordable protein to the world’s rapidly growing population. 

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is the world’s leading and labelling certification scheme for farmed seafood, developing and managing the strictest standards in the industry and covering stakeholder interests such as water quality, disease prevention, fish welfare and fair treatment and pay of workers.  

Together with scientists, consumers, conservation groups, producers, processors, retailers and foodservice companies, the ASC is transforming seafood markets and the aquaculture world to be more environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. 

As an independent, not-for-profit organisation, the ASC receives funding from two main sources:  

  • Licensing fees – fee income from supply chain partners who voluntarily use the ASC logo.
  • Charitable Grants – made to drive improvement projects across aquaculture.

 

Income from ASC logo licensing 

The majority of ASC’s income is generated by the voluntary use of our logo from companies in the supply chain certified against the Chain of Custody Standard, who have signed a Logo License Agreement with ASC International. This forms the basis to use the ASC logo in corporate communication as well as on product (for more information on the exact fee structure see the ASC logo user guide). They can then demonstrate to their customers that their seafood comes from a responsible source.

To ensure independence, the ASC is not involved in the arranging of farm certification audits and does not receive income from the assessment of fish farms and supply chains partners. These services are conducted by independent, accredited conformity assessment bodies (CABs), ensuring there is no link between ASC’s income and the audit results. Transparency and independence are essential to the ASC’s certification process, to prevent conflicts of interest and ensure the only route to achieving certification is by meeting ASC’s requirements.

Charitable grants  

ASC continuously looks for new ways of improving our programme, by increasing accessibility to certification for more farmers, creating efficiencies in the certification processes, and driving up standards. For financing these activities, ASC seeks grants from various sources, such as foundations. Examples include charitable grants like: 

  • The Walton Family Foundation is funding a collaborative project of ASC and Fairtrade USA to deliver lower cost certification with highest social and environmental standards for farmers in Indonesia (find out more about the collaboration here). 
  • Equally, the ASC has been heavily involved in the EU Horizon TAPAS (tools for assessment & planning of aquaculture sustainability) Project, aimed at promoting environmentally sustainable aquaculture in Europe (find out more about the collaboration here). 

Overview of grants to ASC in 2019 and 2020:

 

How we spend our income 

Income generated by the ASC is spent on achieving its vision and mission, and is overseen by the ASC’s supervisory board which consists of independent members, as well as industry and NGO representatives.  

The majority of expenditure goes into the day-to-day organisational costs, especially into salaries of ASC staff members, working on raising demand for ASC labelled products, developing and managing standards and assuring the consistent application of the standards in practice. Additional costs for technical improvements to the programme are reflected in “Technical Services”; and fundamental aspects for the smooth operation of ASC – like IT, fundraising, HR and finance – are shown in “Central Services”.  

Part of the income is spent on “Supply Chain Assurance Services, covering both the costs around the MSC Chain of Custody standard that ASC shares with MSC but also the administration of the ASC logo license. 

Additionally, income is spent on raising awareness of the ASC programme in the various markets, through education, communication and marketing, and supporting partners in the industry committed to responsible seafood production. These activities (here under Markets & Marketing Services) are key to ASC’s future success.

 Summary of ASC Income and Expenditure 2019

 

 Summary of ASC Income and Expenditure 2020

 

Non-profit status of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council 

The ASC is a charitable organisation registered in the UK and Netherlands: 

  • United Kingdom: Charity number 1150418 – Company number: 08172832 
  • Netherlands: geregistreerdeAlgemeen Nut Bevorderende Instelling(ANBI) – NL Chamber of commerce number: 34389683 

Our latest audited Group Consolidated Financial Statements are available upon request to info@asc-aqua.org 

What we do

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