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First kelp and hiziki seaweed farms achieve ASC-MSC certification Third producer globally to meet new sustainable seaweed standard.

First Kelp and Hiziki Seaweed Farms Achieve ASC-MSC Certification

  (SOUTH KOREA, 11/9/2020)

Eleven farms in South Korea celebrated becoming the first kelp and hiziki producers to achieve ASC-MSC Seaweed certification at a certification ceremony in Korea last week during the 2020 Busan International Seafood EXPO. 

The farms operated by Wando Eco-Friendly Seafood Cooperative (WESC) have demonstrated their commitment to responsible and sustainable production with certification against the joint ASC-MSC Seaweed Standard. WESC is the third producer in the world to achieve ASC-MSC Seaweed certification, the second in South Korea, and the first producing kelp and hiziki. The new standard is the first joint standard to be created by ASC and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), reflecting that seaweed can be both farmed and harvested in the wild. It requires that producers minimise their environmental and social impacts, focusing on issues such as wild population stocks, disease management, energy use, good working conditions and good relationships with local communities. 

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The certification ceremony

Patricia Bianchi, ASC-MSC Seaweed Account Manager, said: “As the ASC-MSC Seaweed Standard is a relatively new standard, it is so important that pioneering companies like WESC lead the way and demonstrate to others the great benefits of certification. This is a great achievement not just by WESC but by Wando County, which is an important seafood producer and has really embraced responsible production in recent years.”

WESC is planning to supply its certified seaweed products to retailers in Europe and Taiwan, and these will also be available to consumers in Korean supermarkets such as Orga Whole Food and Lotte Department Store.

Hiziki has been a traditional part of East Asian diets for centuries, and grows naturally in the waters around Korea, Japan and China.

Woo Hyun-Kyu, Marketing Director of WESC, said: “After a lot of hard work, we are now very satisfied that we are following this global standard, which has encouraged us to think about our environmental impact and the true value of seaweed products. The market for responsible seafood is young and has a lot of potential, so it was well worth engaging with and demonstrating our good practices. We will continuously update our practices to maintain the certificate.”

WESC is the latest seafood producer in Wando County, South Korea, to achieve ASC certification in recent years after the county embraced the benefits of responsible seafood production. Representatives of the county’s leadership were present at the certification ceremony on Friday 6 November, which also featured video messages of congratulations from ASC and MSC. 

Kelp (Saccharina japonica) has been farmed in Wando since 1968 and Hiziki (Hizikia fusiformis) since 1980, and seaweed farming is one of the most popular industries in this area. The member farmers of Wando Eco-friendly Seafood Cooperative (WESC) began aquaculture farming from 2005.

Aquaculture is an important element in Korea’s fisheries, with seaweed farming production accounting for 71 percent of the total aquaculture production by quantity and 20 percent in value. (Source: UN Fishery and Aquaculture Organisation). The latest data from the FAO estimates the Republic produced 572,600 tonnes of kelp in 2018.  

Kelp is an important ingredient in Korean, Japanese and Chinese cuisine, and its consumption as food is growing in popularity around the world. It is also extremely versatile, with other uses including cosmetics, supplements and even bio-fuel.

About the ASC 

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation 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.

The ASC standards require farm performance to be measured against both environmental and social requirements. Certification is through an independent third party process and reports are uploaded to the public ASC website.

The on-pack ASC logo guarantees to consumers that the fish they purchase has been farmed with minimal impacts on the environment and on society. 

About the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

The MSC is an international non-profit organisation which sets globally recognised standards for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability. The MSC ecolabel and certification program recognises and rewards sustainable fishing practices and is helping create a more sustainable seafood market. 

The MSC ecolabel on a seafood product means it is fully traceable to a wild-catch fishery which has been independently certified to the MSC’s science-based standard for sustainable fishing. 

Fisheries representing more than 17% of the world’s wild marine catch are engaged in its certification programme and more than 18,000 different MSC labelled products are available on shelves across the globe.

Source: ASC

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