US - Taylor Shellfish Farms has become the first US grower to achieve responsible aquaculture certification for a farming operation in Washington State.
The Shelton, Wash. based company received ASC Bivalve Certification for its operation in the South Puget Sound basin, which comprises the Hood Canal and the area south of the Tacoma Narrows, including Olympia and Shelton.
The certification was achieved after an on-site assessment by independent auditors SCS Global Services. Chris Ninnes, ASC’s CEO, announced the company’s certification on March 7 during Seafood Expo North America in Boston, MA.
The ASC is an independent, not-for-profit organization co-founded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) in 2010 to manage the certification of responsible fish farming across the globe. An independent, international organization, the ASC aims to transform the aquaculture industry to a higher standard through a global certification and labelling program with a focus on good management practices, including the conservation and quality of water resources.
The certification system meets international codes of good conduct, including FAO Guidelines for eco-labelling and ISEAL Standard Setting Codes.
“Taylor Shellfish Farms is dedicated to providing our customers with the freshest, highest quality shellfish available and doing so in ways that respect the environment, our communities and the people who work for us,” said Bill Taylor, company CEO.
“We believe the ASC to be the gold standard for assessing shellfish farm performance, and we are very gratified to have completed the work to become the first farm in the US to achieve this certification.”
“This achievement distinguishes Taylor Shellfish as an innovator in the seafood market and is proof of their strong commitment to responsible farming and good social practices,” said Chris Ninnes, CEO of the ASC.
“We are thrilled they have become the first farm in the United States to join the programme. The US. is a hugely important market in terms of global aquaculture consumption and, by partnering with industry leaders such as Taylor Shellfish, we can make a strong case that responsibly farmed fish is better for business and better for the environment.”
The company says it will actively pursue certification for all its farm operations in Washington State.
The ASC Bivalve Standards evaluates the performance of shellfish operations against criteria related to the natural environment and biodiversity; water resources and water quality; species diversity, including wild populations; disease and pest management and resource efficiency. The standards also address social issues related to a company’s engagement and support of local communities and the quality of the workplace for employees.
The ASC bivalve standard was finalized in 2012 and the first shellfish farm was certified in South America in 2014.
“Consumers, wholesalers and retailers increasingly want to understand and validate how the products they sell or consume come to market,” Taylor said.
“The ASC’s independence, high standards and transparent process provide a strong assurance that companies that pursue certification take responsible shellfish farming very seriously.”
TheFishSite News Desk