In an update to its Seafood Watch standards, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has announced that farmed salmon, certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), have advanced in their sustainable seafood ranking to a ‘Good Alternative.’ The updated recommendation recognizes that ASC-certified farmed salmon aligns with many of the Seafood Watch’s guiding principles for sustainable seafood production, and moves ASC-certified farmed salmon onto the program’s recommended list of seafood for consumers to buy.

This updated recommendation will significantly increase the availability of sustainable farmed salmon in retail stores and restaurants, making it much easier for consumers to make an informed decision over the seafood they purchase.

“Producers that have met the ASC Salmon Standard have been comprehensively and independently audited to ensure they meet the highest assurance levels for responsible production and have demonstrated they care for their workers and communities. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch recommendation that consumers buy ASC-certified salmon further demonstrates the growing collaboration and synergy between the programs to promote the purchasing of responsibly farmed seafood,” says Chris Ninnes, CEO of ASC. “When consumers purchase ASC-certified seafood, they can feel confident they have selected fish from farms that are certified to the highest social and environmental standard.”

The ASC standard is the world’s leading certification program for responsibly farmed seafood. All farms certified to the ASC Salmon Standard must meet a total of 154 performance criteria and 521 compliance criteria, thereby showing they deliver real environmental and social benefits.

“Farmed salmon has long been an excellent protein choice for consumers,” says Gerardo Balbontin, co-chair of the GSI and CEO of Blumar Seafoods. “It is healthy, nutritious and packed full of protein. But now, following the comprehensive ASC standard certification process, we are also able to document the sustainability, and environmental and social performance of our industry. For customers looking for the gold standard in seafood, they know that when they purchase farmed salmon recommended by the Seafood Watch program, and the ASC, they are making the right choice in choosing seafood that is produced to the highest standards.”

At present, nearly a quarter of all farmed salmon produced globally is ASC certified, and members of the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) are the main sources of ASC-certified farmed salmon, worldwide producing over 350,000 tonnes of the product in 2016. The GSI is a collective of the leading global salmon farming companies that have made it their target to be 100% ASC certified by 2020.

“The members of the GSI are making excellent progress towards their ASC commitment,” says Avrim Lazar, convenor of the GSI. “And through this harmonization of the two highest environmental standards, coupled with rapidly increasing supply, we hope to see even more commitment to ASC products from the market place.”

Industry News, Sustainability