ASC earns GSSI recognition

Published on
September 18, 2018

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s Salmon Standard is now a Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI)-recognized certification scheme, the benchmarking group announced on Monday, 17 September. 

An assessment process concluded with GSSI determining that ASC’s Salmon Standard was in alignment with all applicable Essential Components of the GSSI Global Benchmark Tool – a tool underpinned by the FAO Technical Guidelines on Aquaculture Certification, consisting of performance areas related to scheme governance, operational management (including chain of custody), and applied aquaculture farm audit standards. 

The sixth seafood certification scheme – and the third global aquaculture scheme – to be benchmarked by GSSI, the ASC certification met all essential components required by the tool, according to the certifier. The ASC Salmon Standard achieved 52 “supplementary components” within GSSI’s process – more than any other aquaculture certification scheme on record thus far. The ASC standard satisfied 100 percent of the components related to governance and operational management, as well as 25 supplementary components designated for the requirements of the standard, the certification body said. 

GSSI commended the ASC for its commitment to credibility in a press release announcing the certifier’s latest success, and said it looks forward to incorporating more ASC standards into its benchmarking algorithm moving forward. 

“This recognition shows that the Aquaculture Stewardship Council Certification and their Salmon Standard is in line with the FAO’s guidelines for aquaculture certification,” GSSI Managing Director Herman Wisse said. “The ASC recognition bolsters the GSSI Global Benchmark Tool in providing the seafood industry with clarity, credibility, and choice in certified seafood, and we look forward to extending the scope of recognition and including other ASC Standards in the future.”

“With the ASC’s commitment to constant updates and stakeholder engagement, our standard has been a driving force behind improvements in salmon aquaculture,” added Michiel Fransen, head of standards and science at the ASC. “Achieving the GSSI benchmark is further evidence of the strength and the credibility of the standard.” 

Establishing confidence in the ASC’s certification standards and logos is a priority for the certification body, Fransen said.

“The ASC’s market-driven approach to improving standards in aquaculture means we are acutely aware how important it is that the industry and consumers understand and have confidence in the certification schemes behind the logos on their seafood,” he said. “The ASC’s standards have always included the social as well as environmental impacts of aquaculture for a more thorough measure of responsibility, so we look forward to the development of Benchmarking Criteria for social compliance schemes through the GSSI-SSCI collaboration.”

Since its launch in 2012, the ASC’s salmon certification program has seen steady growth, with 240 salmon farms currently approved by the scheme. The ASC’s certification program is the only aquaculture certification scheme recognized as a full member of the ISEAL Alliance. It is also the only global aquaculture standard to achieve a yellow, or “Good Alternative,” rating by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.

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