New salmon farming standards

A NEW SET of standards has been launched to improve the environmental and social impact of the salmon farming industry.


After years of development, the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue has announced the completion of new global standards for salmon farming and is now handing over the standards to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), which will oversee certification of farms.


Fish from accredited farms will be able to carry the new ASC label for ‘farmed responsibly’ fish. The on-pack label compliments the Marine Stewardship Council’s ‘blue tick’ label which is used on certified and sustainably caught wild fish.


The aim of the voluntary dialogues is to minimise or eliminate the key negative impacts associated with salmon aquaculture, such as sea lice spreading from salmon farms, escaped farmed salmon interbreeding with wild salmon populations, and conflicts within communities regarding shared coastal resources.


The ASC said that farmed salmon is a well-known and respected product among consumers and chefs, but minimizing the associated environmental and social footprint will be crucuial ion maintaining its market position going forward.


The standards-development process began in 2004 and has included more than 500 farmers, conservationists, scientists, seafood buyers, government officials, Aboriginal people and other salmon farming stakeholders.


Piers Hart, WWF Scotland aquaculture policy officer, said it is important that operators in Scotland – the third largest salmon producer in the world – embrace the standards in order to put the industry on a more sustainable footing and reduce the impact on the environment.


“Along with existing schemes highlighting responsibly caught wild fish we hope the ASC will give consumers the confidence to make the best choices when buying farmed seafood whether it is imported or produced in the UK”.