First ASC certified shrimp farm in Africa

A LEADING Madagascar shrimp producer has been awarded Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification for its aquaculture farm Aqualma, located in Mahajamba, on the north-west coast.
It is the first shrimp farm in Africa to receive ASC certification, an international labelling scheme that promotes the best environmental and social aquaculture performance.
The producer, Unima, partnered with WWF to develop and implement good social and environmental practices. The company is now being recognised for boosting community development, reforestation and for its sound management of mangrove areas, water treatment and waste management.
WWF has applauded Unima’s commitment, saying that in many ways it goes beyond the ASC standard, and includes education, health care and other environmental and social improvements on the farm.
This certification is a major step for the shrimp sector across Africa and the export market in Madagascar. In 2014, shrimp fishing and farming represented 49 per cent of Madagascar’s fish products exports.  More than 60 per cent of the farmed shrimp is produced by Aqualma.
Europe is the main consumer of Malagasy shrimps, with imports of 400,000 tonnes of tropical farmed shrimp per year. Most of the shrimp is exported to France, with 10 per cent going to Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
‘When managed responsibly, aquaculture can thrive alongside healthy wild fish populations and without harming the marine environment, including the vulnerable mangrove areas in Madagascar,’ said Didier Fourgon, WWF fisheries programme officer in Madagascar.
‘The ASC shrimp certification is a good starting point to achieve this. It´s a proof of good industrial practices and a quality warranty for European consumers on their product choice.’
Nanie Ratsifandrihamanana, country director of WWF-Madagascar, said: ‘We hope this certification of Aqualma will serve as a model for other shrimp farms and will stimulate further engagement of the broader Malagasy shrimp industry towards sustainable management.
‘We look forward to continuing our partnership with Unima and also other farms in shrimp producing countries, such as Mozambique, to implement better practices and help achieve ASC certification throughout the Africa region.’