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ASC's results of the first farmer's survey to get to know the aquiculture sector's opinion on its certification program. (Image: ASC)

Survey confirms ASC certification program benefits

  (NETHERLANDS, 4/24/2018)

As the aquaculture industry continues growing fast worlwide, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) intends to become the leading certification and labelling programme for responsibly farmed seafood.

To date, more than 600 farms have been certified, the majority of which are in Europe and Asia, and 11,000 different products are available on the market bearing the ASC consumer label.

ASC's aim is to transform the world’s seafood markets and promote the best environmental and social aquaculture performance.

“We have come a long way since 2010 but to ensure we remain in tune with the needs of our farmers, we undertook a global survey at the end of 2017. We asked what fish and shellfish farmers value most about ASC certification and what economic, environmental, worker and social benefits they have derived from it,” said ASC Chief Executive Officer Chris Ninnes.

The results were very encouraging, with the majority (92 per cent) of respondents stating that their reputation had been enhanced by certification, 90 per cent benefited from meeting the preference of buyers, and 87 per cent gained access to new market opportunities.

In addition, farmers valued the opportunity to reduce their environmental impact, and three quarters had become more aware of sustainability issues related to feed use.

More than one third of the farmers found that their use of antibiotics and therapeutic medicines had decreased while a quarter reported that their feed conversion ratio had lowered, with a consequent reduction both in the cost of feed and its impact on the environment.

Notable improvements in water quality and a reduction in fish mortalities were also linked directly to working through the ASC certification process.

The survey also revealed that ASC certification was also found to have a positive effect on local communities, with 67 per cent experiencing improved relationships.

In addition, over two thirds of farmers were found to actively support local communities through social projects, financial support and sponsorship of sporting events.

For others in the programme, the defining of formal channels of communication with communities and workers was a definite benefit.

Around half of workers benefitted from an increase in training related to health and safety and good farming practices, and a similar number felt that working conditions had improved since their companies underwent ASC certification.

Just over one third of employers reported that workers’ wages had increased and worker turnover reduced. Other reported benefits were fewer accidents and a decrease in worker sickness.

 
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