Between 2015 and the two first months of 2016, over 10% of farmed salmon production in Chile, or more than 100 thousand tons, has been certified according to the ASC standard, a certification and labeling scheme for responsibly farmed seafood which came off the ground with support of WWF and the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) in 2009.
“This is an encouraging result, not only because the ASC is recognized as one of the most environmentally and socially acceptable standards for farmed seafood production, but also because ASC certified farms in Chile have only started to become operational since the last two years,” said Cristina Torres, Marine Programme Coordinator of WWF-Chile. She added: “the number and volume of ASC certified salmon produced in Chile represents an important first step towards responsible salmon production but we expect more efforts to be made over the coming years”.
Global aquaculture produces almost 60 per cent of the world’s salmon, an industry worth US$5.4 billion per year.
We are helping to move the entire salmon industry towards more responsible farming practices, and the ASC standard provides the right tool to achieve this. The ASC salmon standard was developed over almost a decade of dialogue between the industry and other stakeholders, including WWF. It includes strict controls to minimize negative impacts on the aquatic environment and on wild salmon populations – for example by maintaining water quality, minimizing the use of chemicals and antibiotics and preventing fish from escaping. It also rules out the use of genetically modified salmon, places strict rules on how producers control predators like seals and herons, and ensures farms operate in a socially responsible way.
WWF´s goal is that 70% of globally produced salmon aquaculture becomes ASC certified by 2020.
ASC certification is also about global marine conservation. Over the last years, WWF has worked to protect the Chiloe Marine Ecoregion, one of the 35 most important natural marine areas in the world and home to a variety of unique marine animals such as the Chilean dolphin (Cephalorhynchus eutropia) and the endangered blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus). But this is where farmed salmon production also takes place, causing negative environmental and social impacts. Therefore, WWF´s marine strategy is complemented by the creation, the promotion and management of marine protected areas (MPAs) to conserve whales and other cetaceans.