The benefits of certified shrimp

TODAY at Vietfish buyers and shrimp producers seeking ASC certification came together to discuss the market’s needs and the requirements of ASC’s Shrimp Standard.
The meeting was attended by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC); WWF; and IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, in partnership with Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
Vietnam is the third biggest exporter of farmed shrimp globally; around 90 per cent of its total volume is exported.
‘There are many shrimp farms along Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, especially since Vietnam’s shrimp farming rapidly grew in the Eighties,’ said Ngo Tien Chuong, Aquaculture Programme Coordinator, WWF-Vietnam.
‘This event was an opportunity for shrimp farmers to come together with buyers where they could both discuss how ASC certification works and, in particular, get more detail about the requirements in the ASC Shrimp Standard and learn how organisations such as WWF and IDH can provide support in improving responsible production at the farm level.
‘Vinaclean Food and Stapimex, two companies which are already in the programme, were able to explain the work that they are doing and how they’ve gone about it.
And, for buyers, it was a chance to meet producers and discuss their own requirements and those of the consumer.’
When the shrimp farms have met the ASC standards they will be able to prove that they have measurably reduced any adverse impacts on the environment and local communities and they will be recognised for that through ASC certification.
‘Bringing together current and potential business partners means that buyers can increase their understanding of the real implications of ASC certification, particularly in terms of the changes made at farm level,’ said Esther Luiten, ASC’s Commercial Marketing Manager.
‘Around 70 per cent of the shrimp production in Vietnam comes from small scale producers. It can be difficult for them individually to meet the ASC requirements, however, with support available from WWF and IDH they are better equipped to do so,’ he added.
‘With ASC certification the farms can gain access to the international market and, in particular, the European countries that demand responsibly produced and certified products.’
So far, 15 shrimp farms, from Vietnam and Ecuador, have entered the programme. ASC certified shrimp products are expected on the market later this year.
Shrimp farms have been able to enter ASC assessment since the shrimp standard and audit manual were finalised in March 2014. Certifiers were trained on the standard in December last year.
Through ASC certification, shrimp farms aim to measurably reduce adverse impacts on the environment and local communities by preserving wetlands and mangroves; addressing the transfer of viruses and reducing disease; bringing cleaner water and ensuring the sustainable use of water; ensuring the responsible use of feed; and addressing biodiversity issues.