ASIC, NSF International partner up to promote sustainability compliance among Southeast Asian shrimp farmers
The Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative (ASIC) has formed a partnership with certification assessment body NSF International to help small-scale shrimp farmers in Southeast Asia comply with sustainable practices and measures.
The joint effort will see NSF serving as the main verification partner for the ASIC program, according to a 21 January press release.
“NSF International is deeply involved in the global seafood industry as part of our worldwide mission to improve human health and the environment,” NSF International Asia-Pacific Managing Director Jyoti Bhasin said. “By providing technology and certification expertise to ASIC, we advance NSF’s mission while also addressing the social and environmental sustainability challenges facing the Asian seafood industry.”
Both parties are backing the launch of the ASIC Shrimp initiative, a stakeholder-driven improvement framework established in the Southeast Asian region. ASIC has supported a variety of initiatives in its work, funding USAID, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Oxfam via a recent partnership with the Swedish government, courtesy of its embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, the organization said.
ASIC said its Oxfam collaboration has helped it “grow and increase its focus on social and gender inclusivity.” The organization’s standards cover both social and environmental issues – including gender inclusion and climate – and emphasize improvement through a tiered approach of recognition.
“ASIC is an important partner of the Gender Transformative and Responsible Agribusiness Investments in Southeast Asia (GRAISEA) program. We are excited about the innovations taking place in ASIC aiming towards more accessible sustainable seafood value chains for small-scale producers. Having this relationship with NSF International confirms this,” Oxfam Technical Advisor Henk Peters said.
The high costs often associated with certification audits for both fisheries and aquaculture leave a lot of small-scale producers unable to participate, ASIC said. Its new NSF partnership aims to lower this barrier and others.
“We believe many producers in Asia are excluded, yet have a story to tell,” Rosanna Contreras, the executive director of SOCSKSARGEN Federation of Fishing & Allied Industries, Inc., and chair of the ASIC Executive Committee, said. “With NSF, ASIC offers the opportunity for seafood supply chain members to use a lower cost, more inclusive, and credible approach to improvement that comes with the opportunity to tell this story. It is also a goal of the ASIC program to support those producers that can demonstrate high sustainability performance to more valuable markets.”
Harry Yuli, director of PT. Alter Trade Indonesia (ATINA) and vice-chair of the ASIC executive committee, looks forward to sharing the ASIC project’s story and values shared.
“The ASIC journey has been a long but necessary one,” Yuli said. “We are excited by the opportunity to finally see the true value and story of our project shared with export markets."
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