Bivalve farmers face a number of issues in bringing their clams, oysters, mussels and scallops to market. In the past, criticism has surrounded some bivalve farms for their labour practices, concern over disease and their impact on local waterways.
ASC certification gives farms clear guidelines to follow, and helps protect farms against these issues:
ASC certified bivalve 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. Farms must implement environmental management plans to ensure that they are not adversely affecting the ecological integrity of the area in which they are located. No harm to threatened or endangered species or their habitats is allowed.
ASC certified bivalve farms are required to manage the organic deposits on the sediment beneath the farm in a responsible manner. Sulphide levels in the sediment need to be measured at regular intervals and remain within set limits.
ASC certified bivalve farms must adhere to rigorous requirements to minimise disease outbreaks. Certified farms are not allowed to use harmful pesticides. If chemicals are used, only those that do not harm the marine environment are permitted. Farms must also ensure that actions to prevent diseases do not cause harm to endangered species or have a permanent impact on critical habitats.
- Wild seed collection.
ASC certified bivalve farms that use wild seed must procure the seed from well-regulated natural resources.
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.