As many of you may be aware some Chinese tilapia farmers have in the past few years struggled with quality concerns. Consequently some tilapia consignments destined for America and Europe were rejected by authorities. It appears the Chinese aquaculture authorities have reacted swiftly to this challenge and have worked with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) to obtain certification for their farms.
By the middle of 2015, the first Chinese breeding facility will have received their first certification according to the standards of the ASC, reports the portal IntraFish. Presumably the certification of grow out facilities will follow.
The ASC certification exercise began as part of a project funded by the European Union in the "Middle Kingdom" in partnership with the CAPPMA (China Aquatic Products Processing & Marketing Association) and WWF China. The aim of the two-year and now completed project was to inform fish farmers about the potential of the ASC and sustainability label. Currently, the organisation plans to continue working in this huge market and think about strategy and funding at a later stage.
The TAASA exco approached the ASC about three years ago to enquire about certification of RAS. No such standard existed and as far as we know they have not developed one in the interim. Although they did not say as much, the response to our enquiry left us with the impression that they view RAS farming as inherently ‘safer’ in terms of product quality than pond farming.
The ASC certification process is not only comprehensive, it is also transparent. If you want to get an idea of the type of audit process ASC certified producers undergo visit www.asc-aqua.org for more details.