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ASC Releases Terms of Reference for Marine Finfish Standard Development

02 May 2016

GLOBAL - The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has released Terms of Reference (ToR) for the development of new marine finfish standards.

The announcement was made against the backdrop of Seafood Expo Global 2016 in Brussels and represents a first for the ASC. The ToR advocates the development of standards for new marine finfish species based on the soon to be released standard for seriola and cobia.

Because the knowledge and expertise necessary for the development of standards for seriola, cobia and, in come cases salmon, is applicable to the development of standards for similar fish and farming systems, the forthcoming release of the seriola and cobia standard creates an opportunity to test the applicability of the standard to expand the programme. This is the first time the ASC has taken such an approach.

“The increasing demand for healthy protein has lead to a steep rise in aquaculture production around the world,” said Chris Ninnes, CEO of ASC.

“With fish increasingly becoming essential to global food supply, concerns about the effects of fish farming on people and the ecosystem have escalated. Ensuring people —those who work on the farm and those living in the surrounding community— are protected from harmful practices is paramount for businesses; and a key feature of the ASC standards. It is therefore important that the ASC establishes standards for fish types not currently covered by the programme to further protect the aquatic environment and make sure that farms operate to the best social standard.”

The ToR for marine finfish will officially begin with a field test of the seriola and cobia standard on selected finfish farms that have informed the ASC that they wish to be included in these initial pilots.

No certificate is expected from the preliminary field-testing, however the results will help identify gaps between the existing seriola and cobia standard and what may be necessary to create a robust certification for other marine finfish. The feasibility of addressing these gaps will be evaluated, changes will be proposed and consulted on and a process to operationalize the new standard will be developed.

In the event that the pilot demonstrates that the use of the seriola and cobia standard is not feasible, the results of the pilot would provide important information to speed up the development of on-going and future standard development processes.

This ToR and associated pilot activity will also inform the emerging structure of ASC’s core standard development.

TheFishSite News Desk

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