Veramaris becomes the first microalgae oil producer certified under joint ASC-MSC standard

Delft, The Netherlands-based enterprise Veramaris has achieved certification under the joint Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)-Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Seaweed (Algae) Standard, according to a 19 January announcement.

The company is the first microalgae oil producer for feed to earn approval under the standard, which “confirms that the operation minimizes the impacts on the environment, with good labor conditions, and positive impacts for the community,” Veramaris said in a press release.

The first American producer to merit the distinction – it has a commercial-scale algal oil production facility in Blair, Nebraska – the company can now provide further assurances that its EPA and DHA Omega-3 algae oil, which is used in pet food and aquaculture feed, is responsibly and sustainably developed.

Both pet food suppliers and aquaculture operators stand to gain from the certification development, Veramaris said.

“The certification is good news for pet owners who want to provide their pets with optimal nutrition while reducing the environmental paw-print of their dogs and cats,” the company said. “Consumer research conducted for Veramaris has shown that 75 [percent] of pet owners are willing to pay more for pet food brands containing algae omega-3. By including Veramaris algae oil in their products, pet food producers can offer customers a sustainable option for keeping their four-legged friends healthy and happy.”

Because aquaculture will be instrumental in feeding an expanding global population in the years to come, as is noted by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), producers in the sector need responsibly-sourced fish feed, an ASC requirement, Veramaris said.

“This feed must contain the two key omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are vital for animal and human health and mostly come from wild-capture fish,” it added. “One ton of Veramaris algae oil provides as much EPA and DHA as from 60 tons of forage fish.”

The firm’s land-based facility “adds an estimated 45 percent to the global supply of MSC-certified EPA and DHA omega-3,” it said. Approximately 15 percent of the global requirement for EPA and DHA in farmed salmon feeds is also provided via the facility, according to Veramaris.

Veramaris CEO Karim Kurmaly said the certification signifies a defining accomplishment for the company.

“This achievement is an imperative milestone on our journey to expand the world’s access to sustainable EPA and DHA omega-3. We are committed to working with partners along the value chain to bring transparent and sustainable solutions to the industry that results in healthy fish, healthy food, and healthy oceans for generations to come,” Kurmaly said.

SAI Global performed the audit process for Veramaris against the ASC-MSC standard.

ASC-MSC Seaweed Account Manager Patricia Bianchi said the certification was a milestone the seafood sustainability movement.

“Our oceans are under great pressure to supply fish both for direct human consumption and for feed in the aquaculture industry,"  Bianchi said. "We are hopeful that the sustainable and responsible production of omega-3 from algae will help to relieve some of this pressure on wild stocks and help reduce the risk of overfishing.”

Photo courtesy of Veramaris


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