ASC releases first evaluation report on impact of certified aquaculture
The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has made public its first monitoring and evaluation report, which showcases the impact of certified responsible aquaculture.
The report, released 5 August, highlighted improvements in the environmental performance of salmon farms in Norway, Canada, and Chile, and shrimp farms in Vietnam.
Farms certified by the ASC are required to demonstrate their performance on more than 100 indicators of sustainable practices. The report evaluates the data from the farms to show trends in their performance and looks into case studies for evaluation of environment performance and market access of certified farms.
ASC said the report found “clear evidence that certified farms are learning to work together, and with their feed suppliers, to reduce their reliance on wild-caught fish in the feed they use, helping to reduce the pressure on wild fishery stocks.”
Compliance to the environmental performance by certified shrimp farms required by ASC also rose 50 percent from 2014 to 2018, the certifier said.
With regard to social responsibility measures being practiced by certified farms, such as maintaining relations with workers and local communities, the report demonstrated “improvements in working hours and overtime [of workers] across all species and countries looked at, especially across shrimp farms in Vietnam, Ecuador, and Honduras, and salmon farms in Chile.”
The report also said producers with more than one certified farm tended to share their knowledge about certified aquaculture with owners of non-certified farms.
In India and Vietnam, both major shrimp-producing countries, certified shrimp farms registered improvements in tracking energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Shrimp farms in India also demonstrated better relationships with local communities as the result their certification.
According to the report, more than 1,100 ASC farms in 42 countries produced almost 2 million metric tons (MT) of seafood products by the end of last year. Around 13,000 people are employed to work on the certified farms around the world.
Apart from the monitoring and evaluation of impact, the ASC report also analyzed a few case studies which found major improvements in working conditions at a shrimp farm in Thailand, and improved environmental and social performance at a 2011-tsunami-hit Japanese cooperative.
Analysis of another case study mentioned in the report showed that improvements in partnership with seafood provider Ikea, which only sells farmed salmon that is ASC-certified, have helped raise demand for certified seafood and benefit responsible farmers, the report said.