Historically, salmon farming used to have a number of negative environmental impacts. Salmon farms used to face problems with diseases and parasites, water quality, pollution, and more. Today, there’s a strong push toward sustainability in the salmon farming industry and it is being spearheaded by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). Farms that want to get involved can read on to find out about five reasons to obtain an ASC certificate and commit themselves to more sustainable practices.
Protect the Local Environment
The most obvious reason to get ASC certified is that it allows fish farms to ensure that their practices are not degrading the local ecosystem or negatively impacting local wildlife. Marine ecosystems face a number of growing challenges, ranging from pollution to changing ocean temperatures, overfishing, and more. Fish farming is a great way to avoid depleting wild populations of popular fish species, but only if farmers follow industry best practices for avoiding ecosystem degradation in the areas surrounding their farms.
Learning about certification standards and following up on the ASC’s evidence-driven industry standards motivates farms to implement technological improvements and stay on top of recent scientific discoveries. This, in turn, can help farmers improve efficiency and sustainability in addition to ensuring they are not unwittingly damaging the environment.
Making changes that improve the farm’s sustainability can also increase its profits. Sustainably farmed fish fetches a better price on most markets, and once farms have invested in making basic infrastructure changes, it’s often not much more expensive to produce.
Reach New Markets
Today’s consumers are more concerned than ever with environmental sustainability. Farms that become ASC certified are often able to charge more money for their fish and reach new markets that would be unavailable to them without certification. Even if a farm is already practicing sustainable aquaculture, becoming certified will open plenty of doors within the industry.
Historical problems and scandals in the fish farming industry have created public backlash and made it more difficult for even environmentally responsible farms to maintain a positive reputation. High-end store and restaurant owners pay attention to industry changes like those reflected by ASC certifications. Getting certified can improve a company’s reputation among ecologically conscious business owners and consumers, allowing them to make more sales and, rightfully, charge more for their products.
Remain Competitive in a Changing Industry
As more fish farms receive ASC certification, those that fail to adopt sustainable practices and seek official recognition will have more trouble staying competitive in a changing industry. While it’s true that issues may come up during the initial audit that require operational changes and capital investments, they will pay off in the long run. Failing to keep up with industry changes and become ASC certified will lead to lost customers and a poor public reputation as more consumers adopt eco-friendly practices and that can only lead to monetary losses.
The Bottom Line
Fish farming is a more environmentally friendly technique for providing protein to the people than harvesting wild fish, but the aquaculture industry still has a long way to go to become truly sustainable. The ASC is committed to bringing small and large fish farms alike into compliance with developing industry standards for sustainability but the onus to become certified is on farm owners, themselves. Learn more about certification requirements and start preparing for the audit today to help create a better future tomorrow.