- news, features, articles and disease information for the fish industry


ASC Certification Programme Gains Momentum

11 September 2013

GLOBAL -The ASC certification programme for responsible aquaculture has made tremendous progress this year. Last month the Global Salmon Initiative, a consortium of companies representing 70 per cent of the World’s farmed salmon production, commited to the ASC Salmon Standard. The project to develop the Feed Standard is also picking up pace with its initial steering board meeting planned for the end of October.

After the successful market launch of tilapia products in 2012 and pangasius earlier this year, the industry is now eagerly awaiting certified products for salmon, bivalves (clams, mussels, oysters, scallops), abalone, freshwater trout and shrimp. Products are expected to gradually enter the market starting early 2014.

Final standards make progress

The final two standards, shrimp and seriola/cobia, are making good progress. The Shrimp Audit Manual is currently being finalised and will be forwarded to the Technical Working Group (TAG) for approval in the coming month. The Audit Manual is a document that guides farms how to show compliance and certifiers how to assess those farms against the relevant ASC Standard. The Shrimp Standard and draft Audit Manual are expected to be handed over to the ASC in October/November 2013.

The second and final public comment period for the Seriola and Cobia Standard is now open and will close on 19 October 2013. To download a copy of the standard visit

The ASC Standards will help reduce the adverse environmental and social impacts of fish farming. More than 2,000 people were involved in the dialogues that informed their development, including fish farmers, fish processing industries, supermarkets and food services, conservationist, government organisations and scientific institutes.

Auditor training scheduled for seven standards

The Technical Advisory Group is now reviewing the audit manuals for the bivalves and abalone standards. The audit manual for freshwater trout standard is in its final review and is expected to be sent for approval in a matter of weeks. All three documents are anticipated to be approved in the next couple of months. The three standards have had successful pilot audits worldwide to ensure robust application in practice.

Auditors who want to carry out assessments against ASC standards must attend dedicated training including an exam organised by the ASC. Successful participation is a mandatory requirement to become an accredited auditor.

In the period October - December 2013, ASC has announced trainings for seven of its standards – abalone, bivalves, freshwater trout, pangasius, salmon, shrimp and tilapia. For more information and registration go to ASC auditor training announced.

ASC Salmon Standard making waves

Following the Global Salmon Initiative’s (GSI) announcement in August 2013 that it has chosen ASC as their guiding standard, the ASC Salmon Standard’s reach is set to exceed initial expectations. Three Norwegian farms have already been audited. More are anticipated to follow suit.

“It took us a long time to get the salmon standard right and in it we have set some challenging targets, and asked some of the hardest questions, but these were needed to ensure it was robust. The standard was developed with industry for industry, and is set at a level where only 15 per cent of companies could currently meet its best practice requirements.

This means there is a lot of work to do before all the farms can be independently certified to ASC standard, and the firm commitment of GSI members to achieve this is a vital factor in making it happen.” says Chris Ninnes, ASC’s CEO.


TheFishSite News Desk

Our Sponsors


Sustainable Aquaculture Modular Courses AVAILABLE NOW - University of St Andrews

Seasonal Picks

Know Your Freshwater Fishes - 5m

Aquacullture Webinars from TheFishSite - Sign Up Now