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ASC’s public consultation on new ASC Farm Standard

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

ASC launched one of its largest-ever public consultations to seek stakeholder feedback on the upcoming ASC Farm Standard, which will enhance the efficiency and accountability of the ASC program for the benefit of all stakeholders.

The development of the Farm Standard represents the biggest overhaul of the ASC certification program since its beginning. The single standard covering all ASC species will drive efficiencies into the system and enhance the ASC’s impacts.

Benefits

Farmers and auditors will benefit from greater efficiencies, while other stakeholders, including NGOs, will find it easier to assess and compare the ASC’s requirements, making public consultation more efficient.

The standard has involved years of research and development, including expert input and multiple rounds of public consultation. It will be split into three parts, called principles. Principle One covers legal compliance and effective business management, Principle Two covers environmental sustainability, and Principle Three covers social responsibility. As with ASC’s current standards, farms must meet all indicators in all three parts to achieve certification.

This round of public consultation covers the entire standard, except for fish welfare which was the topic of a separate public consultation in 2021. Ultimately, this fish welfare content will be adopted into the ASC Farm Standard as well.

More effective and efficient

ASC’s director of standards and science, Michiel Fransen, said that “ASC’s Farm Standard will address all main impacts of aquaculture in a consistent manner across the industry in a more effective and efficient manner. We are now coming to the final stages of this project, and are asking for stakeholder feedback so we can be sure the final standard will meet expectations of all those that will use it.”

Stakeholders can view details on the proposed Farm Standard and ways to provide feedback, including through a survey and by joining workshops, on the ASC website. The consultations will run for two months, from March 1 to April 30, 2022.

Due to the size of the Farm Standard, ASC has organized several rounds of public consultation. This is the second and final consultation for the legal and social principles. After public feedback has been considered, Principle One and Principle Three will be finalized and sent to ASC’s Supervisory Board for approval with an aim of publishing thereafter.

ASC will conduct a final round of consultation on the environmental criteria later this year, while also carrying out on-farm pilots to understand where clarification in Standard writing is needed and which elements need guidance for implementation. Principle Two will be finalized and sent to ASC’s Supervisory Board for approval in September 2023 with an aim of publishing thereafter.

Find out more and get involved in the public consultation here.

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