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ASC Certificate - What you need to know

Posted by Bertrand Duteil on 08/06/2017


With the environment and the future of the planet at the heart of headlines and the news, sustainable products are being more and more appreciated and looked for by consumers. With the growing sea pollution going over the world, sustainable fishery is getting increasingly important for the planet and for the consumers. While the MSC is tailored for the wildlife fishery, sustainable fish farms can get another certification for their products: the ASC Certificate.

Today we will learn more about this certificate and how to get it for your fish farm.

The ASC - Aquaculture Stewardship Council

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) was funded in the Netherlands in 2010 by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH). It is an independent, international non-profit organization with a certificate programme for responsible aquaculture. According to the ASC website, the mission of the ASC is to “transform aquaculture towards environmental sustainability and social responsibility using efficient market mechanisms that create value across the chain.”

To carry out this mission, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council created the ASC Certificate based on norms & standards established after roundtables discussions called “Aquaculture Dialogues”. These discussions involved every actor of the fish farming industry: fish farms, fish processing industries, supermarkets and food service providers, NGOs, government organizations and scientific institutes.

The ASC Certificate

Contrary to the MSC certificate tailored for wild fishery, the ASC certificate only focuses on aquaculture products. Different standards and norms have been developed and especially tailored for different fish species. Currently the ASC certificate covers the following fish species:

  • Tilapia
  • Pangasius
  • Abalone
  • Bivalves (clams, mussels, oysters and scallops)
  • Salmon
  • Shrimps
  • Serial / cobia

The ASC certificate is open to all fish farms, regardless of their size or location.

The ASC certification process

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council does not issue any ASC Certificate itself. The whole certification process is carried out by accredited certifying bodies. In order to get certified, each company needs to follow the seven ASC Standards principles:

  • Legal compliance
  • Preservation of the natural environment and biodiversity
  • Preservation of water resources
  • Preservation of diversity of species and wild populations
  • Responsible use of animal feed and other resources
  • Animal health
  • Social responsibility

During the certification process, an authorized certifying agency will announce an upcoming audit on the ASC website in order to check on those norms. Once the audit takes place, the agency will then release its results and an improvement plan will be decided upon if necessary. When the company is ASC ready, the certifier will release a final report and the ASC farm will be certified by the agency itself. The certificate is valid for a three year period and is renewable after a new audit.

In order to display the ASC logo on final products, a Chain of Custody (CoC) certification will also be necessary. It ensures the traceability of the product and the exclusive use of ASC certified products during the production.

Why get an ASC certificate?

The ASC certificate helps fish farms to promote responsible fish farming among their business partners and their consumers. With the growing demand of responsible fish products and the regular audits required during the ASC certification process, ASC certification can also help companies reaching new markets. Finally, sustainable fish farming is the way to go in order to preserve the environment and the wildlife diversity. Getting certified make you a leader in sustainable development and reinforce your company's responsibility and eco-friendliness to your customers.

Further information


Do you want to get ASC certified and need to follow-up on your audit? Do you need to request ASC certification from your suppliers? ecratum can help! With our online Supplier Relationship Management platform, we make your product and supplier documentation administration easy and automated. Learn more and register now for an online demonstration.

Click HERE to register for a free online-demonstration

Tags: Certifications, tips