Pangasius harvest. (Photo: Aquaculture Stewardship Council)
ASC launches accreditation process for pangasius
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 15:10 (GMT + 9)
The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has launched its second standard with the opening of its accreditation process for pangasius. Certifiers can now apply to become accredited, and when achieved they will be able to commence the first farm assessments against the ASC pangasius standard.
Accreditation is conducted by the independent accreditation body Accreditation Services International (ASI).
“This is a clear signal that ASC is making tremendous progress towards its goal of becoming the world's leading certification and labelling programme for responsibly farmed seafood. ASC helps bring farmed pangasius to the market from farms that have proved to limit their environmental and social impacts,” stated Chris Ninnes, CEO of ASC.
He said ASC will now focus on delivering the remaining standards to market during 2012 and on launching the shellfish standards next.
Jose Villalon, Chairman of the Board of the ASC, noted that the pangasius industry has grown almost exponentially this past decade.
|Pangasius harvesting. (Photo: Aquaculture Stewardship Council)
“Having a credible and robust ASC-pangasius standard available to certify responsible farmers will help ensure that the better performers are recognized and, for the first time, that the impacts on environment and society are addressed in a relevant way. This standard was developed in three years with the input of over 600-participants, which represents the most credible approach in addressing the issues surrounding pangasius farming,” he said.
Ninnes also pointed out that with the ASC’s recent launch of its new ASC logo, consumers can now easily opt for responsibly farmed seafood, educating consumers about where seafood came from and how it was produced.
The farming of pangasius - mainly tra (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) and basa (Pangasius bocourti) - is one of the fastest growing types of aquaculture worldwide. In Vietnam, where 90 per cent of pangasius farming occurs, 1.1 million tonnes were produced in 2008. For this year, the sector´s target is to produce 1.2-1.5 million tonnes of tra fish for export, worth nearly USD 2 billion.
|Pangasius processing. (Photo:Aquaculture Stewardship Council)
This industry growth is driven, in large part, by the dramatically increased demand for tra and basa. Pangasius is sold to more than 130 countries globally, mainly in the form of white fillets.
The US used to be the main market for tra and basa, but now its share of exported pangasius has decreased from 80 per cent to 4 per cent. European Union (EU) countries now dominate the export market with a share of 35 per cent.
Last week, the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) launched together with SNV and international pangasius traders Binca, DKSH, Femeg, Mayonna, Nordic Seafood, Queens and Seafood Connection, the ASC Accelarator. The Accelerator will help pangasius farmers in Vietnam more quickly comply to ASC standards by preparing business plans and sharing costs of technical assistance and capacity building.
By Natalia Real