ASC is the acronym for Aquaculture Stewardship Council, an independent not for profit organisation. The ASC was founded in 2010 by WWF and IDH (Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative) to manage the global standards for responsible aquaculture, which are developed by the Aquaculture Dialogues, a program of roundtables initiated and coordinated by WWF. The ASC aims to be the world`s leading certification and labelling programme for responsibly farmed seafood. The ASC is a global organisation working with aquaculture producers, seafood processors, retail and foodservice companies, scientists, conservation groups and the public to promote the best environmental and social choice in seafood. The ASC`s aquaculture certification programme and seafood label recognises and rewards responsible aquaculture.
What is the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)?
ASC aims to be the world's leading certification and labelling programme for responsibly farmed seafood. The ASC's primary role is to manage the global standards for responsible aquaculture, which were developed by the WWF Aquaculture Dialogues.
ASC works with aquaculture producers, seafood processors, retail and foodservice companies, scientists, conservation groups and consumers to:
- Recognise and reward responsible aquaculture through the ASC aquaculture certification programme and seafood label.
- Promote best environmental and social choice when buying seafood.
- Contribute to transforming seafood markets towards sustainability.
Transforming global seafood markets
With its partners, the ASC runs an ambitious programme to transform the world's seafood markets and promote the best environmental and social aquaculture performance. This means increasing the availability of certified responsibly produced seafood to buyers and promoting the use of the ASC logo. The logo sends a strong message to consumers about the environmental and social integrity of the product they are purchasing.
Making a real difference
The ASC programme promotes industry best practice to minimise the environmental and social footprint of commercial aquaculture. Through its consumer label the ASC promotes certified responsibly farmed products in the marketplace.
To achieve this the ASC programme is:
ASC standards are developed and implemented according to ISEAL guidelines - multi-stakeholder, transparent, incorporating science-based performance metrics.
Including science-based performance metrics, the requirements in the standards are realistic, measurable and auditable.
A globally recognised, market-oriented programme that aims to promote meaningful improvements in aquaculture production in a credible and cost efficient way that adds real value to producers and buyers of certified products.
A world where aquaculture plays a major role in supplying food and social benefits for mankind whilst minimising negative impacts on the environment.
To transform aquaculture towards environmental sustainability and social responsibility using efficient market mechanisms that create value across the chain.
Why a sustainable future demands responsible aquaculture
By 2018, more than half of all the fish consumed globally will come from aquaculture.
And that's just the beginning…
As the world's population continues to increase, the drive for sustainable, protein-rich food sources is increasing with it. And so will our reliance on aquaculture.
At its best, the aquaculture industry promotes sustainability and good practice. But, badly managed, it can have damaging environmental and social impacts.
So what needs to be done to ensure aquaculture meets global demand responsibly?
Showing the world aquaculture can be environmentally and socially responsible
The ASC is the world's leading certification and labelling programme for responsibly farmed seafood.
Compliance with ASC's farm standards show that aquaculture can be an increasingly sustainable, socially-responsible and environmentally well-managed industry.
ASC's certification programme creates incentives to reward responsible farming practices through these four linked initiatives:
- Implement a programme around the ASC standards to assess whether farms are operating responsibly.
- Promote and reward responsible farming practices through the use of a consumer facing logo when it influences consumer choice.
- Through outreach and marketing create demand for ASC labelled products.
- Purchasing preferences increase demand and market access for certified seafood, which influences farms that are operating below the performance requirements of the ASC standards to improve and seek certification.
Together, these initiatives drive a continuous system of improvement, helping the industry shift perceptions and performance, as you can see here: