ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) is a labelling scheme which was established in 2009 by WWF and the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) in order to promote responsible farming in aquaculture and fish farms. Together they have developed global ASC standards for 12 fish species.
Aquaculture is the fastest growing food industry in the world. Today, approximately 50 percent of all the fish and shellfish that are consumed around the world originate from aquaculture. Unfortunately, in some places aquaculture leads to considerable environmental problems such as the destruction of unique natural areas, water contamination and use of feed that originates from over-fished fish stocks. When fish farming in aquaculture is established responsibly it is, on the other hand, one of the most sustainable ways to feed the world.
ASC labelling takes global and local considerations into account by managing the environment around the farms. The fish are farmed carefully, they are checked for the use of medicine and adjuvants and they are fed with fish feed that is not produced from over-fished species. This ensures that the fish are responsibly farmed taking into account the surrounding environment, nature, wild fish stocks and social conditions.
An ASC certification ensures measurable conditions and strict control of the quality throughout the production chain. The ASC label is therefore a guarantee of high quality of theworking conditions, fish feed, animal welfare and the environment.
Denmark as a pioneer country
We have a tradition of innovation and environmental awareness. So we are also ambitious when it comes to the development of Danish aquaculture: we will be the world's first example of a whole industry 100 percent of the conventionally farmed freshwater trout is ASC certified. Fish from our aquaculture farms will be sold to a number of different segments and we are working to make the ASC label an attractive option for our aquaculture farms as well.
We are among the leaders in the world when it comes to investment in environmental technology. In Denmark we are used to complying with strict environmental requirements from the authorities. Consequently, ASC labelling is a natural extension of aspects the industry already works with, and the Danish Aquaculture Organisation wants to position Denmark as a pioneer of responsible farming.
Standards and certification requirements
The Freshwater Trout Aquaculture Dialogue (FTAD) has established a number of global standards for farming freshwater trout. The objective of the standards is to minimise any negative effects of the farming. In doing so, the standards can be a catalyst for global improvements in aquaculture production.
The most important objectives of ASC labelling include avoiding stressed and sick fish, which can infect wild stocks, avoidance of impacting water and land environments around the farming locations and limiting the use of chemicals to an absolute minimum, plus ensuring good social conditions. In addition, it is essential that certified fish farmers fulfil their legal obligations. Compliance with national laws and regulations ensures that the fish farmers comply with and know fundamental environmental and social requirements for the industry.
You can find the standards for freshwater trout and the manual for certification here