Mowi Scotland plans to achieve ASC certification at all its freshwater loch sites this year, along with additional seawater sites, the company announced today.
Until the ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) revised its salmon standard last year, many farms in Scotland could not comply because the ASC did not allow the production of salmon smolts in freshwater lochs.
Mowi said in the January issue of its newsletter, The Scoop: ‘Although there are alternative environments for the smolt production at this stage, such as recirculation units, freshwater lochs are still a big part of our farming business and production strategy in Scotland.
‘Now that the standard that governed freshwater trout production will allow the production of salmon smolts in freshwater lochs, Mowi Scotland can put a plan in place to achieve ASC certification for all of its sites.’
The ASC commitment is part of a wider Mowi group ‘Blue Revolution’ sustainability strategy, launched at the end of 2019, which sets ambitious targets to reduce medicinal treatments, antibiotics, plastic use, waste, and fish escapes, and improve sea survival rates.
The ASC standards address the key environmental impacts of farming, set requirements for workers’ rights and protect communities surrounding certified farms.
Mowi Scotland technical manager Rory Campbell said: ‘The ASC Salmon and Freshwater Trout standards are the most robust and far reaching environmental and social standards for global aquaculture.
‘As a business, Mowi has globally committed to achieving 100 per cent ASC certification for all our farms.
‘This is a long-term objective and I’m proud to say that in Scotland we have a plan in place for 2020 to expedite certification at a number of our sites and play our part in achieving this vision.’
As part of the ASC roll out for all of Mowi Scotland’s sites, the company has appointed a dedicated certification manager, Samuel Clegg.
He has been tasked with the implementation of ASC certification and will help with the audit process and get sites up to speed with the standards, said Mowi.
Following the first round of audits early this year in freshwater, several other farms will be added to the audit schedule throughout 2020.
The number of farms put forward for ASC certification will increase through 2021, and the plan is for 100 per cent of Mowi Scotland’s sites to be certified by the ASC.
Clegg told The Scoop: ‘I started a couple of months ago and my feet have barely touched the ground! We have an ambitious target and therefore a lot of work ahead of us.
‘I joined from a third party accreditation body, similar to the type that the ASC uses to carry out the auditing process.
‘I also have experience in aquaculture, so I am drawing on all this experience in the lead up to our first audits which will happen at the end of January.’
Campbell added: ‘I firmly believe that the ASC standards drive you to be a better farmer, a better neighbour and have less impact on the local environment.
‘These standards go way beyond local regulation as the auditors look at everything from water quality, environment quality, interactions with wildlife, communication with local communities, disease and lice levels (which must be reported at farm level on a weekly basis).
‘Ultimately, the ASC standard provides reassurance for retailers and consumers that the salmon they are purchasing has been farmed responsibly and sustainably.’