The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is an independent, nor-for-profit organization co-founded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) in 2010 to operate a third party certification and labelling program for aquaculture around the globe.
The ASC Standards were created by WWF and IDH to address the most pressing environmental and social impacts of aquaculture.
What it means
The ASC Standards are developed in line with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations Guidelines. It is the only aquaculture certificate scheme to be recognized as a full member of the ISEAL Alliance.
To be a full member of the ISEAL Alliance requires inclusive and transparent standards setting must be followed by ASC.
ASC certificate holders must operate at the highest industry standards. The objective is to ensure the preservation of the natural environment, biodiversity and water resources. As well, good working conditions for staff is a must.
Being permitted to use the ASC logo on packages and product brochures provides consumers with a guarantee. In particular, it assures them that the fish purchased has been farmed with minimal impacts on the environment and society.
The ASC Standards cover principles and criteria to minimize environmental and social impacts in the following areas of aquaculture:
- Legal compliance (obeying the law, the legal right to be there).
- Preservation of the natural environment and biodiversity.
- Preservation of water resources and water quality.
- Preservation of diversity of species and wild populations (e.g. preventing escapes which pose a threat to wild fish).
- Responsible sourcing and use of animal feed and other resources.
- Good animal health and husbandry (no unnecessary use of antibiotics and chemicals).
What we need to remember is that the ASC is a minimal standard that was agreed upon by aquaculture organisations around the globe. It is a work in progress. This means, the participants continue to strive for further improve the standard. Such improvements will become available and should be incorporated in subsequent versions of the standard.
Important for us as consumers is that if we purchase fish with the ASC or Aquaculture Stewardship Council label, we are buying fish raised in a fishery that meets ASC standard.
There are several labels available that are similar.
Please remember, if you purchase fish with the MSC label in your favorite store, you are buying fish that is caught in the wild (another is, e.g., the Friend of the Sea label)
Finally, a company may have both labels such as the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) label or either, the FOS or MSC one. This may occur if it catches fish in the wild and has an aquaculture operation at the same time.
All what is needed that it gets its two types of catches certified.
What is your opinion
Of course, what interests us the most is what you think about these labels such as the MSC
- Do you purchase ASC label fish in your favorite store?
- What do you look for when purchasing fish?
- What things would you like to have improved in the ASC label
- Are there other labels that you use as criteria for shopping fish?