New seriola and cobia farming standard arrives after nearly a decade in the making

Published on
November 2, 2016

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) announced the completion of its new Seriola and Cobia Aquaculture Dialogue on 1 November, a standard that has taken more than eight years to establish.

The standard is built around the collective developments of farmers, scientists, conservationists and others, who all share a “vision of ending practices that can cause harm to the environment and negatively impact workers, in order to move the overall aquaculture industry towards sustainability,” ASC said.

“The completion of the seriola and cobia standard allows the ASC to get ever closer to our ultimate goal of transforming global aquaculture to a more sustainable basis,” explained ASC CEO Chris Ninnes. “This standard is a testament to the hundreds of professionals who joined in the dialogue and gave of their time and expertise throughout this extensive process. We are pleased to have worked with them to deliver a standard that will protect the environment and help farmers, workers, and local communities.”

Seriola and cobia producers and distributors welcome the new standard, which will help strengthen commitments to sustainability and the practice of farming the species, according to Kinzou Matsumoto, General Manager of the Seafood Department for the Food Merchandising Planning Division for AEON Retail Co.

"As one of the leading seafood retailers in Japan, AEON welcome the ASC Seriola and Cobia Standard,” said Matsumoto. “Both species are widely consumed in Japan, and AEON will supply this responsibly farmed seafood to a wide range of customers. This will help to familiarise them with ASC certification, and allow AEON to strengthen their commitment to sustainability and carry on Japan’s rich food traditions to the next generation."

Japan in particular, which is responsible for more than 90 percent of seriola and cobia production in the world, contributed a great deal to the standard’s formation, and the country stands to gain a great deal with its dissemination.

“With the great support from many stakeholders, the strong participation in the aquaculture dialogue and pilot audits in Japan, a robust ASC standard for seriola and cobia was developed,” said Satoshi Maekawa, Oceans and Seafood Group Officer for the Conservation Division for WWF Japan. “ASC worked closely with other partners in the county. The experience of collaborating with many Japanese producers increased the understanding of responsible aquaculture. We believe that the introduction of this standard will lead to the further improvement of the seriola and cobia production and will have lasting environmental and social benefits.”

A standard was developed to encompass both cobia and seriola – more commonly referred to as amberjack, yellowtail kampachi, hamachi and hiramasa – due to their similar production methods, and because “the knowledge and expertise necessary to create a standard are the same,” said ASC.

While most seriola is farmed in Japan, other prominent farming operations can be found in Australia, South America and the United States. Cobia production can be found in the United States, Puerto Rico, Belize and many parts of Asia.

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