The farming of tropical marine finfish including Grouper, snapper, pompano, barramundi, and croaker has been associated with a number of environmental impacts, such as the use of marine ingredients in feed, negative impact on biodiversity, disease and parasite transfer, and impact of pollution on water quality and on the seabed. ASC certified tropical marine finfish farmers work hard to improve standards in their industry, work with their local community, and respect their workers and the environment.
Note: Tropical marine fish farms will be able to be audited against the ASC standard from 26 December 2019 onwards (effective date).
The ASC Tropical Marine Finfish Standard is applicable to Groupers (species in the genera Epinephelus, Cromileptus, Plectropomus and Cephalophis), Snappers (species in the genera Lutjanus and Ocyurus), Pompano (species in the genus Trachinotus), Barramundi (species in the genus Lates) and Croaker (species in the genus Larimichthys) and in all regions globally where these fish are farmed.
ASC’s programme requires farms to be independently assessed and to provide an unparalleled level of transparency by making all the audit reports publicly available on its website. Here is what makes ASC certified tropical marine finfish a responsible choice, helping you to care for the natural environment and support local communities:
ASC certified tropical marine finfish farms minimise impacts on the local ecosystem in a number of ways, such as the development and implementation of a biodiversity-focused impact assessment ensuring farms are not sited on critical habitats. Certified farms are not allowed to establish themselves in mangrove ecosystems, and farms built in mangrove areas prior to May 1999 are required to partially restore lost mangrove forest. Producers must greatly minimise any fish escapes. All lethal incidents with wildlife must be reported to the ASC.
ASC certification requires tropical marine finfish farms to adhere to strict limits to minimise the use of wild fish as an 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 non-marine ingredients including soy and palm oil.
ASC certified tropical marine finfish farms are required to measure various water parameters (phosphorus, oxygen levels etc.) at regular intervals and remain within set limits. Potential copper release into the water must be minimised and monitored.
ASC certified tropical marine finfish farms are required to adhere to rigorous requirements to minimise disease outbreaks. A Fish Health Management Plan detailing steps for biosecurity management must be developed under supervision of a veterinarian and implemented on the farm. The use of medicine before a disease is diagnosed (prophylactic use), is prohibited. Producers must manage farms in such a way that survival rate is high, and they need to have a farm specific mortalities reduction program that includes defined annual targets.
ASC certification imposes strict requirements based on the core principles of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), these include among others 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. Farmers need to engage with local communities (including indigenous people), have a community stakeholder complaints process in place, and inform local communities about potential health and safety risks or changes in access to resources.