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ASC to hold its first-ever shrimp summit in Ecuador this summer

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) of North America is holding its Shrimp Summit from 12 to 13 July in Guayaquil, Ecuador – a booming region for global farmed shrimp production.

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
8 June 2022, at 7:04am
person holding two whiteleg shrimp
Whiteleg shrimp

Ecuador produced over 2,267 million pounds and exported around 1,855 million pounds of shrimp in 2021 © CNA

The summit promises to unite shrimp farmers, retailers and suppliers and give them a crash course on ASC certification.

Currently, Ecuador is the world’s number one producer and exporter of whiteleg shrimp, also known as Pacific white shrimp. In 2021, the country produced over 2,267 million pounds and exported around 1,855 million pounds, representing close to $5,078 million dollars. Around 406 million pounds were exported to the US alone, generating an increase of 56 percent compared to 2020.

Facilitated in partnership with Guayaquil-based Sustainable Shrimp Partnership (SSP), the two-day ASC Shrimp Summit will seek to unite local market sectors around reducing environmental and social impacts of the region’s farmed shrimp industry, with a key focus on ASC certification.

Shrimp at 65 days post-hatch
Shrimp at 65 days post-hatch

ASC-certified shrimp farms in Ecuador use an extensive, low-density shrimp culture method and produce shrimp without using antibiotics © Tarah Mayes

More than a dozen major North American retail companies and seafood suppliers will take part, including senior representatives from Ahold Delhaize, Loblaws, Safeway and Disney.

During the seminar, participants will tour ASC-certified shrimp farms and processors to gain up-close insights into responsible shrimp production. Educational panels will be conducted throughout, fostering open dialogue between farmers, processors and attendees, while allowing retailers to deliver messages about their expectations for sustainability under the umbrella of ASC certification.

“As part of our ongoing strategy to connect the marketplace directly to the in-country supply chain, we’re excited to facilitate this seminar and drive the growth of ASC-certified shrimp in Ecuador,” said Peter Redmond, ASC’s Senior Market Development Manager. “We’ve chosen Ecuador for this first session due to their extensive, low-density shrimp farming, lack of antibiotic use and safe, high-quality shrimp in the production of ASC-certified and labelled shrimp. With Ecuador’s high standards, we feel it is important for stakeholders in the supply chain to see up- close and personal exactly what it means to practice sustainable shrimp production.”

ASC’s global shrimp standard requires that all ASC-labelled shrimp are free from antibiotics, aligning with Ecuador’s movement away from antibiotics in the production of responsibly farmed shrimp in order to preserve the country's delicate natural ecology. Driving this change toward the wider market to ensure safe, transparent practices and a healthy final product requires the efforts of multiple stakeholders, underlining the importance of ASC’s ongoing work with SSP.

“Ecuador has always had an innovative aquaculture industry and is constantly adapting its processes to market trends and requirements,” added Pamela Nath, Director of the Sustainable Shrimp Partnership. “Having the opportunity to experience closely how the best production practices are applied in the Ecuadorian shrimp industry through SSP is key. It demonstrates that the product’s premium quality and safety profile is the result of our producers’ experience and the exhaustive care they apply in each stage of the production cycle, along with the unique conditions provided by our natural ecosystems. Together with ASC, we are committed to improving customers and consumers access to premium and reliable farmed shrimp.”

ASC hopes the inaugural “ASC Shrimp Summit” will set the stage for future, perennial gatherings for seafood industry sectors to work in collectively, continuously improving seafood production practices and quality.