Vinh Hoan nets first ASC pangasius certificate
The first Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certificate for responsible pangasius farming was awarded last week to Vinh Hoan’s Tan Hoa farm in Vietnam.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), Vinh Hoan was Vietnam’s No. 1 pangasius exporter from January to June 2012, with export values exceeding USD 72.4 million. The company was founded in 1997.
Vinh Hoan has adapted its production and working methods to the requirements of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, the ASC Pangasius Standard. In 2003, the international World Wildlife Fund initiated the development of standards for responsible aquaculture.
“This is a crucial milestone for the pangasius industry, which is vital for the Vietnamese community in the Mekong Delta. The annual production has grown from 500,000 metric tons (MT) to 1.5 million MT in the last 10 years. This growth has also had serious negative side effects,” said Chris Ninnes, ASC CEO. “ASC certification recognizes and rewards farms that have ensured their production is organized in a responsible manner. This includes conservation of water resources, no misuse of antibiotics, responsible use of feed, and behaving in a socially responsible manner. The practices of Vinh Hoan are a great example for the whole industry.”
As an independent organization, the ASC manages the standards and the certification process. ASC does not certify the farms itself; this is done by independent certifiers. The method is similar to the familiar certification programs for wild capture fisheries (MSC) and forestry (FSC). In the case of Vinh Hoan, the independent certifier IMO (Institute for Marketecology) assessed the quality and working methods of Vinh Hoan and honored the company with the first ASC certificate for responsible Pangasius farming.
The first pangasius products with ASC logo are expected to be available in supermarkets in Europe shortly. More audits of farms have already taken place and are scheduled. Additional supply can be expected to reach store shelves over the coming months. ASC-certified products are handled by a chain of certified companies, safeguarding traceability from farm to fork.
Pangasius is the second ASC-certified species to appear in the market. Last month, the first certified tilapia was introduced. Bivalves (mussels, oysters, scallops and clams), abalone, trout, salmon and shrimp will follow next year.