On November 3, the shrimp farmer Sociedad Nacional Galapagos (SONGA) received the official ASC certificates for its cluster farms Naturisa Farm, Josefina-Rio Nilo Farm and Camaron Camino Real Farm, as well as for its Lebama Farm, all situated in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
The certificates were handed over to SONGA by Jing Dong of Control Union, the independent certification assessment body (CAB) that carried out the farm assessments, during the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo 2016 in Qingdao, China. The now-certified sites were assessed by Control Union Peru this spring together with another two farms, Agromarina and Salmo, which are also expected to gain ASC certification.
“SONGA is proud to be certified to the highest standard for shrimp aquaculture. It is increasingly important to be able to show to our clients around the world that we use responsible farming methods and minimize the impacts of our operations, and being certified to ASC standard allows us to do so. We have seen a growing interest in certified shrimp from the US, Europe, China and other Asian countries and our certification will help us grow in these important markets,” said Rodrigo Laniado, SONGA CEO.
SONGA operates shrimp farms that represent 75 % of its production, two hatcheries, a research facility and a processing plant with the help of its 1000 employees. In 2014, the farm produced more than 12,000 tons of shrimp, which has allowed it to become one of the main shrimp exporters in Ecuador as well as a reliable supplier to the European, North American and Asian markets. In 2015, SONGA was the number one Ecuadorian shrimp exporter to the US, South Korea and mainland China. Aquaculture certification is as an integral part of SONGA’s production process, allowing them to guarantee high quality and safety to their customers.
There are currently 63 farms certified against the ASC Shrimp Standard across the globe producing 91,076 metric tons of certified shrimp, and another 22 shrimp farms in assessment waiting for the outcome of their assessments. Out of the farms certified, 8 farms originate in Ecuador with a further 15 farms in Latin America (8 in Belize, 8 in Honduras and one in Nicaragua).
Japanese retailer Kasumi launches responsibly sourced processed oysters
One of the largest retail chains in Japan, Kasumi Co. Ltd., which operates 178 stores in the north region of Kanto Plain, has introduced certified responsibly farmed processed oysters sourced from a local farm.
To highlight the new assortment of ASC and MSC labelled seafood, an exclusive in-store promotional display was launched at their flagship store, Food Square Tsukuba Style in Tsukuba city. The marketing display will be a permanent fixture in the store and has been created in collaboration with MSC Japan and features a new set of claims. The claims have been developed to be easily understood by all age groups, in particular children, to give consumers a better understanding of the certified seafood products they purchase.
“We believe that the consumers in our region are highly conscious about environmental issues. So we focus on providing products that reflect this demand such as ASC certified oysters with processed packages”, said Hiroyuki Akao, Kasumi’s Manager of Fish Merchandise section. “We are expecting that our customers’ response will be stronger to the added value of ASC certification. As we operate in a limited area we can also quickly offer a wider assortment of seafood which meet the customer’s demand in our region. This sets us apart and allows us to create originality in our stores.”
Three ASC labelled products are now on sale at the Food Square Tsukuba Style store, steamed oyster in tray pack, smoked oyster in tray pack and jarred oyster confit. The oysters are produced in the city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture, in the north east of Japan that is still recovering from the devastating Tōhoku earthquake disaster five years ago. In recent years, the oyster farms have improved their environmental performance to gain ASC certification. Their efforts have been great for the ecosystem of the region and those who work on the farm and it has resulted in this new sales opportunity. The Kasumi’s certified seafood assortment also includes Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) labelled products.
Kasumi is planning to expand its certified product range to more stores with a step-by-step approach. They have a strong relationship with their seafood supplier whose support has been instrumental in helping Kasumi launch their new line of certified seafood. Kasumi has plans to launch ASC certified Atlantic salmon and Whiteleg shrimp in stores soon.