Nearly all trout that we eat is farmed. However, trout farming has been associated with a number of environmental impacts, such as poor water quality, threat of disease spread and the use of marine ingredients in feed.
But with strict quotas on stock, careful monitoring of potential pollutants and strict feed requirements, ASC certified trout is the responsible choice:
ASC certified trout farms minimise impacts on the local ecosystem in a number of ways, such as the development and implementation of an impact assessment on threatened species, ensuring farms are not sited in National Protected Areas, and minimising fish escapes. In addition, the introduction of exotic trout species is not allowed, unless cultured in a closed system. Since trout farming can occur along rivers, a maximum of 50 per cent of the river water flow can be diverted through the farm. The ecological quality of the riverbed should not be impacted and needs to be monitored carefully.
ASC certification requires trout farms to adhere to strict limits to minimise use of wild fish as an ingredient for feed. In addition, the standard requires farms to ensure full traceability back to a certified source, both for wild fish and soy.
ASC certified trout farms are required to measure various water parameters (phosphorus, oxygen levels, etc.) at regular intervals and remain within set limits. Responsible farming can only take place in healthy water bodies.
ASC certified trout farms must adhere to rigorous requirements to minimise disease outbreaks. A Fish Health Management Plan must be developed under supervision of a veterinarian and implemented on the farm. This plan details steps for biosecurity management. In addition, chemical antimicrobial treatments before a disease is diagnosed (prophylactic use), is prohibited.
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. Regular consultation with surrounding communities about potential social impacts from the farm and proper processing of complaints are also required by certified farms.
Similar requirements apply for suppliers of small trouts which are supplied to the ASC certified trout farm.