Abalone may be considered a delicacy in many parts of the world, but farmers have to work hard to ensure that the conditions in which abalone is farmed meet high standards.
ASC certification helps ensure that farms meet strict requirements from preserving the local environment, to ensuring workers are well treated:
- Biodiversity. ASC certified abalone farms minimise impacts on the local ecosystem in a number of ways, such as ensuring that farms are not sited in areas with key biological or ecological functions. No harm to threatened or endangered species or the habitat on which they depend is allowed. Escapes need to be minimised and solid management plans need to be implemented to ensure this.
- Feed. ASC certification requires abalone farms to adhere to strict limits to minimise use of wild fish as ingredient for feed. In addition, the standard requires farms to ensure full traceability back to a responsibly managed source, preferably certified, both for wild fish and sea weed (kelp).
- Pollution. ASC certified abalone farms are required to measure various parameters (nitrogen, sulphide, etc.) at regular intervals and remain within set limits.
- Diseases. ASC certified abalone farms must adhere to rigorous requirements to minimise disease outbreaks. A disease management protocol must be developed for health surveillance and disease response. In addition, the use of medicines before a disease is diagnosed (prophylactic use), is prohibited.
- Social. ASC certification imposes strict requirements based on the core principles of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), these include prohibiting the use of child labour or any form of forced labour. All ASC certified farms are safe and equitable working environments where employees earn a decent wage and have regulated working hours.