Responsibility in fish feed production

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) and GLOBALG.A.P. have been working together for the last year to help bring about environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture. In a joint statement, these standard setting organizations lay out the current scope of the standards for aquaculture farms and compound feed manufacturers
June 25, 2014

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) and GLOBALG.A.P. have been working together for the last year to help bring about environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture.

Current scope of the standards for aquaculture farms and compound feed manufacturers

Currently, the three standards rely on external certifications covering feed ingredients and feed raw material suppliers (e.g.: the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the Roundtable for Responsible Soy (RTRS) and the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)) and/or on compliance with the local legal requirements to verify that they meet the programs’ requirements.

GLOBALG.A.P. has its own compound feed manufacturing (CFM) standard that covers all feed manufacturering processes. The scope of this CFM standard does not cover the feed ingredient suppliers and feed raw material production.

Certified aquaculture farms and GLOBALG.A.P. compound feed manufacturing certified companies must have statements from their feed supplier(s) that their products meet specific requirements, ensuring sustainability, traceability and transparency.

These requirements include: traceability to the species and country of origin; no use of material sourced from endangered species based on IUCN´s red list; avoidance of fish sourced from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU); and preference for feed manufacturers with publicly available evidence of responsible sourcing, such as sourcing of fishmeal and fish oil derived from third-party certified fisheries and aquaculture operations, including fishmeal and fish oil derived from fish by-products.

The BAP feed mill standards address the environmental sustainability of reduction fisheries by requiring that by June 1, 2015, a minimum of 50 per cent of the fishmeal and fish oil derived from reduction fisheries or fishery by-products must originate from certified sources.

ASC has similar criteria requiring seafood ingredients to be sourced from ISEAL compliant certified sources five years after publication of its standards.

Responsible Feed Dialogue

In their work towards the mutual goal of achieving efficiencies across the programs to help accelerate progress, the partnership is working together to develop the ASC Feed Standard, including GLOBALG.A.P.’s long experience with its CFM standard.

Last year, ASC started a major project to develop a standard for feed mills producing feed for aquaculture, which will be applicable to farms seeking or holding ASC certification and could also be used by other certification programmes.

Both GAA and GLOBALG.A.P. are actively involved in the development of this feed standard, along with feed manufacturers, retailers, farmers, IFFO and other commodity certifiers including MSC, RTRS, RSPO. 

The Steering Committee for the Feed Dialogue is currently finalizing the work plans of its technical working groups that will move detailed discussions forward around the key environmental and social issues identified.

The ASC Feed Standard will enable aquaculture operations to source certified feed and will allow producers who can demonstrate their environmentally and socially responsible feed production methods to gain recognition for their efforts. The ASC Feed Standard should be finalised by the end of 2015.

Collaborative working for social responsibility

The work of the three programs is focused on the environmentally and socially responsible production of the farmed product. Social rights are a fundamental aspect of all three of the programs’ farm standards, setting out requirements covering the rights of aquaculture farm workers and local communities.

Requirements on the fishing vessels that supply to feed producers are beyond the scope of the programmes’ standards, as the standards do not cover the certification of wild capture fisheries. Working conditions on those fishing vessels are a very important issue. To start to address critical social issues like forced labour, the industry as a whole will have to work together along with specialists in the field.

This collaboration is essential to deliver the tools and links needed throughout the supply chain to provide the necessary assurances that purchasers need. It will take some time, but it is by working collaboratively that such abhorrent practices are eliminated.

ASC and GLOBALG.A.P. will be joining the discussion on social justice aboard fishing vessels for reduction fisheries at GAA’s GOAL 2014 conference in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, from October 7 to 10. A day-long workshop specifically on feed is being held on October 7. For the workshop, GAA is bringing together many of the world’s leading seafood non-governmental organisations and industry representatives to discuss solutions to this difficult issue.

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is as an independent, not-for-profit organisation co-founded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) in 2010 to manage the certification of responsible fish farming across the globe. The ASC standards require farm performance to be measured against both environmental and social requirements. Certification is through an independent third party process and (draft) reports are uploaded to the public ASC website. The on-pack ASC logo guarantees consumers that the fish they purchase has been farmed with minimal impacts on the environment and on society.

The Global Aquaculture Alliance is an international, non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture. Through the development of its Best Aquaculture Practices certification standards, GAA is a leading standards-setting organization for farmed seafood. For more information, visit

GLOBALG.A.P. Aquacultural Standards have been operational for over 10 years as part of a global food certification system for agricultural products. Its standards cover food safety, environmental, social and animal welfare requirements for feed, hatchery and farming operations. It operates as a business to business program with a consumer facing traceability code. GLOBALG.A.P. also operates a benchmarking system with more than 20 national and international standards recognized as equivalent.