Forty farm sites are now ASC certified in the UK – covering finfish and shellfish, and representing a 100 percent increase since February 2022. A further 18 farms are in initial audit stage, with a view to being certified by the end of the year.
From January 2022 to January 2023, 16 more companies became ASC Chain of Custody holders and there are now 139 UK Chain of Custody holders.
“We are delighted to see such an increase in the number of farms and companies in the UK joining the ASC programme or becoming ASC Chain of Custody holders. We know that market demand is driving this increase and we expect even more farms and companies to take up this opportunity over 2023 and beyond, ” said Lorraine Gallagher, ASC UK and Ireland market development manager, in a press release.
ASC standards include requirements covering the potential impacts of the farms on the environment, workers, animal health and the surrounding communities.
Consumer interest drives supplier commitments
Rising interest from shoppers in responsibly sourced seafood products is key to more and more farms becoming ASC certified, and more suppliers making commitments to ASC.
In the UK alone, demand for ASC labelled consumer products rose by 62 percent in 2022. The UK is trending above the global average, which sits at a 14 percent year-on-year increase.
Some noteworthy examples of these commitments from farms include Bakkafrost Scotland, who recently achieved ASC certification for four salmon farms in Scotland in 2023.
Ian Laister, managing director at Bakkafrost Scotland, said: “ASC develops and manages some of the strictest quality standards in the industry, increasingly sought after by customers. includes requirements covering aspects such as water quality, responsible sourcing of feed, animal health, fair working conditions and maintaining positive relationships in our communities in which we live and work. Bakkafrost Scotland is very much aligned to this level of quality control and inspection and happy to be working with the ASC team to develop the scheme across our business in Scotland.”
In addition to commitments from Sainsbury’s and Mowi to source ASC certified products, New England Seafood (NESI) has also recently committed to 100 percent sourcing of ASC certified seabass and seabream in their ‘Fish Said Fred’ range. These products retail in Ocado, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
“NESI is proud to use the ASC logos on our range and we recognise the high standards and practices required to gain ASC certification. ASC offers us and our customers assurance that both planet and people are at the forefront of aquaculture operations, both now and into the future”, said Ruth Hoban, head of sustainability at NESI.