The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), which manages standards for responsible aquaculture, is presenting a new label for responsibly farmed seafood. Products bearing the ASC label come from fish farms that have met these standards. The on-pack label demonstrates to consumers that their seafood comes from farms that limit their impacts on the environment and the community. Consumers can from now on easily make a conscious choice to purchase responsibly farmed seafood.
To develop its label logo, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council has drawn on the lessons and experiences gained from certification marks globally. “In terms of recognition, it is important that consumers see their choices confirmed by a logo that communicates this positively. We have opted for a color scheme that fits with the specifics of fish farming, which often involves a combination of water and land. A friendly fish with a ‘bold’ checkmark shows very clearly that the purchase of the seafood product is a positive choice,” says Chris Ninnes, CEO of ASC. “The language used ‘certified’ and ‘responsible’ reinforces these visual cues.”
Jose Villalon, Chairman of the ASC Board, recognized the design work contributed by Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR) from their London offices. “JKR is one of the foremost packaging design agencies globally and without their pro bono efforts, the ASC would not have been able to develop such a positive and powerful communication tool. With this logo, consumers will now be able to make mindful, responsible choices when it comes to farmed seafood,” he says. Villalon also recognised the contribution of Birds Eye Iglo in supporting this process through commercial and consumer testing.
The ASC label is complimentary to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label; which is used on certified and sustainably wild caught fish. With the introduction of the ASC certification program for farmed seafood, an important step is made towards being able to credibly demonstrate to consumers that all fish sold comes from producers who have worked to limit their impact on the environment. And for ASC products, producers have also demonstrated social responsibility towards their workforce. At present, half of all the seafood consumed is farmed and often more farmed seafood is sold through retail than wild caught.
The first species to be awarded the ASC label will very likely be tilapia and audits are already planned for farms in Indonesia and Honduras. Later in the summer, the ASC label will be present on the packaging of tilapia in various supermarkets in Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, France, Sweden, Denmark and England.