Shrimp is the most widely consumed seafood in the U.S. Yet for American consumers, responsibly produced shrimp is difficult to find.

That’s why news from India is noteworthy: One of India’s largest producers of farmed shrimp and a top exporter to the U.S., Falcon Marine has announced that, by 2020, all of its shrimp will be certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). India accounted for about 32 percent of America’s farmed shrimp imports in 2017, making it the number one source of farmed shrimp in the U.S.

“ASC is the most credible certification for farmed seafood,” said Blake Harris, senior program officer for World Wildlife Fund’s aquaculture program. “There were zero certified farms only a couple of years ago, and now one of India’s largest producers is committing all its production to ASC certification. Falcon Marine’s commitment is an important step that should drive producers and processors in India, Southeast Asia and markets all around the world to also achieve ASC certification.”

© Audra Melton / WWF-US

ASC certification requires farms to address a range of environmental and social issues, including the loss of habitats and their biodiversity, water pollution, the spread of disease and communities’ and workers’ rights. It also deals with antibiotic use, which can drive the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria that threaten biodiversity and human health. ASC-certified shrimp cannot be treated with antibiotics or given feed containing medicine.

Falcon Marine plans to reach its 2020 goal of 100% ASC-certified shrimp production by entering all of its shrimp farms into aquaculture improvement projects with timebound plans to reach the ASC standard. With support from buyers and NGOs like Falcon Marine and WWF, respectively, aquaculture improvement projects help fish farms to take a step-by-step approach to earn ASC certification.

“I am delighted to welcome Falcon Marine to the ASC program,” said Marcos Moya, ASC’s commercial outreach manager. “Their commitment to 100% ASC-certified production is a testament to the growing demand for responsibly farmed shrimp around the globe. I would like to commend Falcon Marine on being a driving force in the support of responsible shrimp aquaculture and I look forward to working with them towards their goal.”

© Nicolas Axelrod-RUOM / WWF-US

For farm-raised seafood, WWF supports the ASC as the world’s leading certification program. This independent, global non-profit organization manages standards of responsible farming of several key aquaculture species. The ASC standard includes both environmental and social metrics-based indicators, as well as traceability to the farm for certified products all verified using third-party auditors.

To increase the volume of ASC-certified seafood, WWF engages with companies and their supply chains to support the transformation of source farms to responsible management. This transformation is executed through a phased approach that includes aquaculture improvement projects. WWF will be working with Falcon Marine to implement farm-level practices leading to ASC certification for 100% of their farmed shrimp supply.