The new feed standard was developed by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and is the result of years of development by feed manufacturers, retailers, NGOs, farmers and other stakeholders.
It requires that feed factories meet strict environmental and social requirements; Source ingredients from socially responsible suppliers; and use environmentally friendly raw materials. Questions in the supply chain as well as at the raw material level are addressed. The performance reporting requirements will also improve industry transparency, reward environmental sustainability and support future research on responsible feed.
Over the next 14 months, auditors, feed manufacturers and their suppliers will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the standard and prepare for certification before feed factories are eligible for certification. The farms then have 24 months to switch to ASC-compliant feed in order to continue to meet the ASC operational standards.
After Seaspiracy, there has been much debate about the effects of the marine constituents used by fish farms. ASC’s Feed Standard makes it clear that while certified mills have to source more and more environmentally friendly ingredients, marine ingredients actually make up a minority of feed ingredients, with around 75 percent of Aquafeed ingredients worldwide coming from agriculture – plants such as soy, wheat and rice . These have their own impact, particularly deforestation and land conversion, which are often overlooked in industry debates.
In a press release, Chris Ninnes, CEO of ASC, said: “Aquaculture already provides more than half of the seafood consumed worldwide, the livelihood of millions of people, and without it we will not be able to achieve food security for growing global low-carbon populations. Footprint. However, this positive effect will be undone if the feed used by the industry is not sourced responsibly. ASC has spent the last decade incentivizing producers to reduce the impact of their farms, and now we are rolling that approach down the supply chain.
“Marine ingredients play an important role in providing vital nutrients for farmed fish, but like everything, they must be used and sourced responsibly. Rather than substituting one type of ingredient for another, the ASC feed standard recognizes that all ingredients – marine and agricultural – can have both benefits and effects and must be addressed holistically.
“We know that many manufacturers and feed producers are already taking this issue seriously, and we want to reward them and encourage others to follow suit in order to tackle what is possibly the greatest threat to the industry’s reputation. This standard could not have been created without the work and expertise of our multi-stakeholder steering committee and I would like to thank you for your contribution to this important milestone for the entire industry. “
In addition to environmental sustainability, factories must also ensure that they and their suppliers are socially responsible. For example, independent auditors must verify that factories do not use forced or child labor, pay and treat their employees fairly, and are not allowed to discriminate on any grounds. Certified feed mills must perform due diligence in their supply chains to comply with these principles as well, in order to ensure an impact in areas where the risk of these problems is more pronounced.
As a source of protein, aquaculture has one of the lowest carbon footprints, but it is important that the industry monitors and works on its footprint along the entire supply chain. ASC-certified feed factories must record and report their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions; and work on improving energy efficiency, the use of renewable energies and water consumption.
The feed standard uses a marine ingredient enhancement model that requires feed factories to source from more sustainable fisheries over time. MSC and MarinTrust, both full ISEAL members, play a crucial role in this mechanism. Intermediate steps are recognized fisheries improvement projects that lead to each program. Ultimately, most of the marine constituents must come from MSC fishing.
The model offers feed factories a unique opportunity to work with their fishmeal and fish oil suppliers to meet the growing demands over time.
For plant-based ingredients, like marine ingredients, mills must collect and report all ingredients that make up more than 1 percent of a feed and take steps to ensure that they are from supply chains with low risk of illegal deforestation.
ASC will provide additional documents to auditors and feed mills to provide clear guidance on how to implement the standard, as will the Certification Accreditation (CAR) requirements for the ASC farm standards. ASC also works with factories to ensure these documents are appropriate in practice and seeks ways to make the audit process as efficient as possible.
During the current period, workshops will be held in parallel with this consultation for stakeholders to learn more and ask questions. ASC employees around the world will reach out to their stakeholders in various sectors to explain the benefits and requirements of the new standard and how they could be influenced