Aquaculture Magazine

Octuber-Novembrer 2016

News from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council

Spending on certified seafood products with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) logo in Dutch supermarkets has increased 150 per cent in the year between 2014 and 2015, according to market research by IRI.

ASC certified seafood consumption on the rise in the Netherlands
ASC and MSC labelled products together accounted for 540 million euros of total seafood sales and more than 45 per cent of all seafood sold in Dutch supermarkets in 2015. The total expenditure on seafood with the ASC logo was 83.85 million USD (64 million euros) in 2015.
Consumers in particular are increasingly opting for certified fresh fish from the refrigerated section of the market, with the spending in this category doubling year over year.
The figures stem from the monitoring of sales trends of certified products in 10 product groups. The study was conducted by research firm IRI, and commissioned by a consortium of industry associations and label holders. The research was undertaken to promote sustainable development in the Dutch market and provide accurate sales data for certified products.
“The incredible increase in turnover of ASC certified products is due to several Dutch supermarkets switching to the sale of certified salmon. The first salmon farm became certified in January 2014. Since then growing volumes of certified salmon have become available, allowing for example Albert Heijn and Aldi to switch to ASC certified salmon in 2015,” said Esther Luiten, Commercial Manager of ASC. “It’s great to see an increasing amount of ASC labelled seafood for sale.”
With more than 45 per cent of the total expenditure on seafood in the Netherlands made up of certified products, the category is fast becoming the norm and can no longer be regarded as niche.
Dutch consumers are among the most progressive in the world when it comes to purchasing products-whether tea, fruits and vegetables or eggs- that prioritize environmental conservation and social responsibility. Thanks to the commitment to certified seafood by local supermarkets, seafood brands and suppliers, the Dutch market already plays a major role in rewarding responsible producers and moving the seafood industry towards sustainable practices.
In September, Dutch and Belgian supermarkets and brands promoted ASC and MSC certified seafood during the “Think Fish Week.” The joint initiative of ASC, MSC and the World Wide Fund for Nature is held annually to inspire consumers to choose fish with the ASC and MSC label. From 26 September to 2 October, supermarkets, suppliers, foodservice companies, and brands encouraged their customers to choose ASC and MSC certified fish.

Traceability in the supply chain helps prevent fraud
The growing demand for labels is connected to another consumer need: a reliable guarantee that a product can be traced throughout the supply chain. Every product with the ASC label can be traced to its source throughout the supply chain.
Consumers can be confident that their product comes from responsibly managed farms. The ASC requires a rigorous, independent traceability certification at each step in the supply chain, wherever certified seafood is processed.
There are currently close to 1000 Chain of Custody certified companies globally and more than 5,900 products with the ASC logo in 58 countries. In the Netherlands, there are nearly 800 ASC labelled products currently available for purchase.
The ASC Invites Comments on the First Phase of the Core Standard
The ASC has published the first draft of the Core Standard methodology and is currently seeking public comment on the new approach.  The ASC is seeking stakeholder feedback on the first draft of a proposed Core Standard of indicators. This document harmonizes Principles, Rationale, Criteria and Indicators from the 7 current ASC species standards of salmon, freshwater trout, pangasius, tilapia, shrimp, bivalves, and abalone. The draft seriola/cobia standard is also being considered and will be included when finalized.
The Core Standard was created in response to demand from the market to produce a certification process that uses the common indicators across multiple species to make the certification process more effective, and to bring new species into the program in a more efficient manner. The Core Standard will streamline redundancies across the certification process, while increasing the number of species eligible under performance-based requirements that minimize or eliminate the key negative environmental and social impacts of aquaculture.
Agreeing on a common set of indicators is the first step in creating a Core Standard. Once these are agreed, a second consultation will be announced to agree on harmonized applicability, requirements and methods. The publication of the final Core Standard and species specific annexes will then follow. The ASC anticipates the release of the final standard no later than 2018.
Public consultation regarding indicators is open through 19 October 2016, and as mentioned above, a second consultation will then be announced.  Have your say to make sure that the methodology works for you!
All documents for public consultation are available on the ASC website. Comments and questions are to be sent to

ASC Staff

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