The soon-to-be revised version of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s feed standard dominated the organisation’s talk at this year’s Seafood Export North America yesterday.
Michiel Fransen, Standards and Certification Coordinator for the ASC, is leading the development of the feed standard and kicked the session off with an overview of the standard and its progress to date. The update was followed by a lively panel discussion moderated by Scott Nichols, Founder & Principal of Food's Future LLC. For the panel discussion and Q&A, Michiel and Chris Ninnes, ASC's CEO, were joined on stage by Michael Tlusty, Director of Ocean Sustainability Science, New England Aquarium; Avrim Lazar, Facilitator for Global Salmon Initiative and Blake Lee-Harwood, Communications & Strategy Director for the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. The session provided a snapshot of the differing perspectives and approaches to the complexities surrounding the use of marine and terrestrial components to feed farmed fish.
"The ASC Feed Standard will allow producers to know they are sourcing the most environmentally sound and socially responsible ingredients," said Michel. "The standard is designed to incentivise fisheries on various sustainability levels to join the programme and improve their performance over time. Importantly, the standard also addresses the terrestrial components and plant derived ingredients beyond soy. We want to provide clear guidelines on all the components that go into feed in order to minimise negative impacts on all aspects of the production and sourcing."
"Aquaculture's ability to make dramatic increases in animal protein production is at the center of a hopeful food future. Its resource use efficiency is unmatched but, to achieve its greatest potential, we must use feed ingredients and practices that continually lower aquaculture's environmental footprint," said Scott.
The new standard is designed to enable the feed industry to operate on a more environmentally sound and socially responsible basis. It will define requirements for both responsible factory practices, as well as requirements for the sourcing of responsible components for the three main ingredient groups: marine, terrestrial plant and animal.
A second draft of the standard will be available for public comments in the coming months. In addition to this work, the ASC is currently holding public consultations for the joint ASC-MSC Seaweed Standard.