What It Takes For a Fish Farm To Get ASC Certification
- The ASC ensures fish farms operate legally, conserve the environment and are socially responsible to their communities and employees
- Fish farms, like Regal Springs, must choose to be certified by the ASC
- Once certified, fish farms must continue to uphold their standards to be able to put the ASC Certified label on their packaging
Achieving a certification from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) isn’t easy. Yet, more than five thousand products from ASC-approved fish farms are now on the market in 57 countries—a sure sign that today’s aquaculture is increasingly conscientious and forward-thinking. Here at Regal Springs, we’re proud of the fact that all of our premium Tilapia is ASC-certified.
What is The ASC?
After eight years of consultations and dialogue, the ASC was established in 2010 by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative. They wanted to ensure a high standard of integrity and kindness in the aquaculture industry—kindness to consumers, to fish farmers, to the communities, to the environment, and to the fish themselves. The result is a robust and rigorous standard for fish farms all over the world—one that assures consumers and communities alike that a company’s fish are raised sustainably.
That’s why having an ASC certification is so important for us at Regal Springs: it shows that we’re committed to the well-being of our workers and our customers. We have a strong reputation—and strong relationships—to uphold. This is why we requested certification and reached out to one of the professional accreditation companies approved by the ASC.
How Do Fish Farms Get Certified?
The ASC doesn’t just show up on a company’s doorstep and demand to do an audit. The process starts with a company’s desire to prove itself, to show people that it’s worthy of their confidence. It then asks for an audit of its fish farms, which is performed by a third party certification company affiliated with Accreditation Services International—the same organization that works with the Forest Stewardship Council, the Marine Stewardship Council, and many other services around the world. Because the ASC does not conduct the actual audit, they maintain independence as a standard setter. The ASC is still involved, however, because they ensure the entire process is transparent.
The audit is conducted against the standards set by the ASC, which is founded on seven core principles. Fish farms must:
- Operate legally, obeying the laws in the jurisdictions where they’re located
- Conserve the environment, habitats, and ecosystems of the fish
- Preserve water resources
- Monitor their activities so they don’t compromise wild fish populations
- Ensure resources, such as feed and energy, are responsibly sourced
- Prove that unnecessary chemicals or antibiotics are not used and that fish are kept in healthy and humane conditions
- Be socially responsible for their workers and nearby communities
When the ASC’s certificate is awarded, that’s not the end. The certifier continues to check on the fish farms they have audited, making sure that the high standards of the ASC are maintained. They also make sure there’s a “chain of custody” in place, meaning that all products can be traced to the fish farms on their labels, and every stage in their processing and handling—from the lake to the store shelf—meets the ASC’s strict criteria.
For us at Regal Springs, being able to put the ASC logo on our products is something we take seriously. And it’s also a contribution: our way of making sure the future of aquaculture—of a seafood supply that is accessible and affordable to all—is sustainable.