Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) has been accredited to certify processors, distributors and other participants in the supply chain of custody under the new Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standards, effective immediately.
Companies that wish to sell responsibly farmed seafood products that carry the ASC label can now apply for Chain of Custody certification from SCS. The ASC ecolabel is applicable to eight major farmed species groups, with standards that assure responsible aquaculture farming practices. In addition, accreditation to the chain of custody standard is a major milestone toward achieving accreditation to conduct farm level certification.
"The ASC is poised to become the leading standard for responsibly farmed seafood," said Dr. Robert J. Hrubes, Senior Vice President of SCS. "We are excited to partner with ASC for the purpose of certifying businesses that support through their purchasing decisions, environmentally responsible aquaculture practices."
The ASC is an international, independent, not-for-profit organization created to manage global standards for responsible aquaculture. ASC standards focus on reducing the key environmental and social impacts of fish farming. The standards were created by the Aquaculture Dialogues, an open and transparent initiative initiated and coordinated by World Wildlife Fund, with over 2,000 participants including representatives from SCS, farmers, seafood processors, retailers and foodservice operators, NGOs and government agencies.
"Responsibly farmed seafood can reduce pressure on marine environments while increasing the role of civil society in supporting responsible food production," said Dr. Sian Morgan of SCS who served as a technical expert in the Aquaculture Dialogues. She now heads the ASC seafood initiative at SCS, bringing a wealth of knowledge about seafood supply chains and buyer purchasing policies to the position. "The ASC also affords industry the opportunity to demonstrate leadership around best practices and transparency," she added.
SCS has been an active participant in the sustainable seafood movement since the launch of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) over a decade ago. SCS is a leading global certifier to the MSC standards for sustainable wild fisheries and for MSC chain of custody.
Companies that already hold a valid chain-of-custody certification for MSC-certified products can apply to SCS for a combined certification for seafood from both wild capture fisheries and seafood farms by means of a simplified assessment process. SCS can also bundle these services with other vital assessments, such as food safety. SCS' network of auditors around the globe will conduct ASC and MSC Chain of Custody assessments. Companies selling seafood to retailers, institutions or other organizations with sustainable seafood policies are ideal candidates for chain of custody assessments.