ASC now permits mills to apply for certification for feed standard

A man throwing aquaculture feed into a net pen with the ASC logo in a corner.

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) announced that, as of 14 January, feed mills can apply for its ASC feed standard certification. 

The certification constitutes several legal, social, and environmental requirements for both mills’ operations, and for the suppliers of ingredients used in feed production.

“We look forward to supporting feed mills who want to work towards ASC certification, as well as helping producers prepare to transition to sourcing ASC-certified feed over the next 24 months,” ASC Director of Standards and Science Michiel Fransen said.  

ASC-certified mills must source its ingredients from environmentally friendly sources, and most marine ingredients must be derived from Marine Stewardship Council-certified fisheries, ASC said in a press release. Both the MSC and MarinTrust play a crucial role in the new certification mechanisms, ASC said. 

The certification, the ASC said, comes as aquaculture continues to play an increasing role in the world’s production of seafood – aquaculture made up a sizable chunk of the 213 million metric tons of seafood produced in 2020.

“Aquaculture provides 58 percent of this production by weight and 67 percent by value and the macro-nutrients this provides is an essential and undervalued component of global food security. Fortunately, farmed seafood provides these food security and nutritional benefits with a much lower carbon footprint than protein from terrestrial farmed livestock,” ASC CEO Chris Ninnes said. “Increasingly, more fish and invertebrates are fed during their life cycle (in 2020, 63 million MT were fed, compared to non-fed at 24.3 million MT) and this represents an increasing interface between aquaculture and agriculture. Much attention, often negative, is focused on the inclusion of fish meal and fish oil in farmed diets, whilst almost ignoring completely the impacts of terrestrial plant materials that constitute up to 85 percent of the diets of carnivorous fish.”

Ensuring feed used in the ever-increasing production of seafood via aquaculture is sustainable, Ninnes said, will be essential as the industry continues to expand.

“To farm seafood responsibly demands that the ‘upstream’ impacts associated with the production of feed ingredients be monitored and reduced, with an imperative focus on social responsibility and environmental improvement,” Ninnes said. “This is exactly the role that the new ASC feed standard will play by incentivizing these improvements”

Current certified farms have until 14 January, 2025, to switch to ASC-compliant feed to meet ASC farm standard.

Photo courtesy of ASC/LinkedIn


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