GLOBAL - The Seriola and Cobia Standard was handed over to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) by the Seriola and Cobia Aquaculture Dialogue last week. This marks another major milestone for the ASC and joins the standards for tilapia, pangasius, salmon, shrimp, trout, bivalves and abalone.
There has been swift uptake by the market to use certified products with the ASC logo and keen anticipation for new species as they emerge.
Bas Geerts, ASC Standards Director, said: “I’m delighted this standard has been handed over to ASC, it has been long awaited. It is thanks to the remarkable commitment of the 100's of people who put in so many hours over the last few years to the multi-stakeholder dialogues that we have such a robust standard for responsible seriola and cobia farming. Our next step is to develop the audit manual and then we are ready for pilot testing.”
Next steps: developing the audit manual and pilot testing
The ASC will coordinate the development of the audit manual and then will launch the pilot farm audits. Interest in the pilot testing has so far been shown globally from farms in Japan, Brazil and Mexico.
These pilots will ensure the standard for seriola and cobia can be thoroughly tested and give farms a chance to see how their operations match up against the standard.
Third party accreditation
Once the pilot audits have finished the results will be used to inform the final version of the audit manual. This will guide certifiers and farmers in how the standard should be applied.
When the standard is live, certifiers’ staff will be trained in the application of the standard and their companies must successfully conclude the third party accreditation process administered through Accreditation Services International.
Reducing environmental and social impacts
The ASC Seriola and Cobia Standard aims to address the key negative environmental and social impacts of seriola and cobia farming including preservation of local habitats and biodiversity, conservation of water and quality, responsible sourcing of feed ingredients, minimal use of therapeutics and antibiotics, caring for their employees and fostering good community relations.
The ASC anticipates that the standard and audit manual will be ready for launch in the last quarter of 2015.
Currently, cobia is produced in many parts of Asia and off the coast of the United States, Mexico and Panama. Seriola is mainly produced in the Republic of Korea and Japan.
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TheFishSite News Desk