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ASC tilapia lands Seafood Watch endorsement

Medicinal treatments Certification Tilapia / Cichlids +5 more

Monterey Bay Aquarium has backed shoppers to buy Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified tilapia – giving these fish the coveted Seafood Watch ‘yellow’ rating.

This week’s recommendation comes after an independent review of the ASC standard by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. In its report, the agency cited the ASC requirements for data collection, effluent limits and environmental impacts assessments as some of the many features of the standard that lead to the endorsement.

“We are very happy that fish certified to the ASC Tilapia Standard is recommended by Seafood Watch,” said Peter Redmond, ASC’s Vice President of Market Development for North America. “We believe this demonstrates the robust nature of the standard and is also a direct result of our desire to collaborate with all parties that share our interest in further advancing the goal of responsible aquaculture through certification.”

The standard was benchmarked by Seafood Watch after the completion of the review of the ASC Tilapia Standard. At the conclusion of the process, the ASC Tilapia Standard was updated to include further restrictions on the use of medicines to treat illness occurring on the farm. The standard also includes a restriction common to ASC standards prohibiting the use of any antibiotics on the World Health Organization’s list of medicines critical to human health to treat fish. Both changes were factored into Seafood Watch’s ratings decision.

“The improvements ASC has made to their farmed tilapia standard, particularly the mandate to further reduce antibiotic treatments during production, allow us to recommend ASC certified tilapia to our partners, the public and sustainability organizations that rely on our recommendations,” said Ryan Bigelow, Program Engagement Manager, Seafood Watch. “We support continuous improvement and hope that the ASC will continue to strengthen its standards.”

Fang Qing, China Commercial Manager for ASC, said: “With the recognition of ASC certified tilapia by Seafood Watch, we see a great opportunity for all our certified producers, including those in China. The update provides further recognition for a product that is not only raised according to good environmental and social practices, but is also fully traceable from its point of origin throughout the full supply chain. The farmers that have invested in improved practices will be rewarded for their efforts and dedication to responsible aquaculture according to ASC’s transparent and public facing certification process.”

Yesterday’s announcement comes just weeks after Seafood Watch’s upgrade of ASC-certified salmon to the same yellow, ‘Good Alternative’, rating. A variety of seafood certified to the programme have received positive ratings from Seafood Watch, including ASC certified pangasius; mussels, oysters, clams, scallops and shrimp.