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Seafood Watch upgrades ASC-certified farmed salmon to ‘good alternative’

The update, issued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, demonstrates the significant increase in the availability of sustainably produced farmed salmon.

In an update to its Seafood Watch standards, the Monterey Bay Aquarium announced June 5 that farmed salmon, certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), have advanced in the sustainable seafood rankings to "Good Alternative."

The updated recommendation recognizes that ASC-certified farmed salmon aligns with many of the Seafood Watch’s guiding principles for sustainable seafood production, and moves ASC-certified farmed salmon onto the program’s recommended list of seafood for consumers to buy, according to an announcement.

This updated recommendation will significantly increase the availability of sustainable farmed salmon in retail stores and restaurants, making it much easier for consumers to make an informed decision over the seafood they purchase.

“Producers that have met the ASC Salmon Standard have been comprehensively and independently audited to ensure they meet the highest assurance levels for responsible production and have demonstrated they care for their workers and communities. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch recommendation that consumers buy ASC-certified salmon further demonstrates the growing collaboration and synergy between the programs to promote the purchasing of responsibly farmed seafood,” ASC chief executive officer Chris Ninnes said. “When consumers purchase ASC-certified seafood, they can feel confident they have selected fish from farms that are certified to the highest social and environmental standard.”

The ASC standard is the world’s leading certification program for responsibly farmed seafood. All farms certified to the ASC Salmon Standard must meet a total of 154 performance criteria and 521 compliance criteria, thereby showing they deliver real environmental and social benefits.

At present, nearly a quarter of all famed salmon produced globally is ASC certified, and members of the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) are the main sources of ASC-certified farmed salmon, worldwide producing more than 350,000 metric tons of the product in 2016. GSI is a collective of the leading global salmon farming companies that have made it their target to be 100% ASC certified by 2020.

“The members of GSI are making excellent progress towards their ASC commitment,” said Avrim Lazar, convenor of GSI. “Through this harmonization of the two highest environmental standards, coupled with rapidly increasing supply, we hope to see even more commitment to ASC products from the market place.”

To learn more about the Seafood Watch program, visit: www.seafoodwatch.org.

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