FOUR farms in Turkey and Greece have become the first in the world to be certified to the ASC’s new sea bass, sea bream, and meagre standard.
Two farms operated by Nireus in Greece and two operated by Sursan in Turkey achieved certification at the same time on June 5.
The ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) expanded its programme in response to demand for standards for sea bass, sea bream and meagre.
The species have traditionally been enjoyed by consumers in European markets, but production has grown in Turkey and Greece to meet rising demand around the world.
The ASC said the response from producers to its new standard had been enthusiastic, with farms scheduling audits to from the first day the certification become available.
The audits and certification for the first four farms to win approval were carried out by Acoura.
The ASC’s sea bass, sea bream, and meagre standard was launched in September 2018, with the first audits taking place in March, at the end of a six-month period that gave farmers and auditors the chance to familiarise themselves with the standard.
Nearly 30 additional farms in Turkey, Greece, Spain, Croatia and Albania underwent audits in the weeks after the standard went live.
Antonis Chachlakis, chariman and CEO of Nireus, said: ‘Nireus is very proud to be a pioneer in the responsible growth of aquaculture, according to ASC’s new standard.
‘The certification that Nireus obtained for its farms is only the beginning of our efforts while we deeply wish to serve as a model for our sector.’
Kerem Göksel, sales director at Sursan, added: ‘We are already experiencing demand for ASC certified sea bass and sea bream from our customers which shows their appreciation for the commitments we’ve made.’
The certified Turkish farms are located in Bodrum, in the south-western Aegean region of the country.
The Greek farms, meanwhile, are in the south of Evia Island, in Aliveri, and in Fokida in the Corinthian Gulf. All four farms produce both sea bass and sea bream.
Chris Ninnes, CEO of the ASC, said: ‘We’re delighted to see such a positive response to the standard. It’s gratifying that the first farms certified to this new standard are in Turkey and Greece, important centres of production for these increasingly popular species.
‘Demand for sea bass, sea bream and meagre is rising, and it’s important that farms act responsibly as production expands by meeting a transparent standard for best practices that protects the environment and promotes positive outcomes for workers and the community.’