ASC comment on dolphin slaughter in the Faroe Islands
September 27, 2021
In recent days there have been some understandable concerns raised on social media about the mass slaughter of dolphins and whales in the Faroe Islands, but there have also been some statements that incorrectly imply the ASC condones or certifies these practices, so we’d like to set the record straight.
ASC does not certify – or condone – any kind of mass slaughter of dolphins or whales, and does not certify the farming or captivity of these animals. Only individual fish farms can be certified against ASC’s strict standards, so it is incorrect to say the Faroe Islands is ASC certified, or that any aspect of these practices is ASC certified. We share the widespread concerns over the images of this practice but ASC has no influence or ability to prevent or take action against it, because it is completely unrelated to fish farming and falls under the remit of national law.
ASC is a certification programme for responsibly farmed seafood – that includes species like salmon, shrimp and seaweed, but not dolphins or any other marine mammals. Our standards are used by independent certification bodies to audit individual farms to determine if they are being managed responsibly. The certification of a company’s farms in the Faroe Islands (or anywhere else) does not imply any endorsement of the wider company or country. These audits take into account hundreds of factors, including environmental and social impacts and wider impacts such as feed production and energy use. But of course, every programme must have a defined scope and a limit to what it can consider, and it is simply not possible for ASC audits to take into account issues that are completely unrelated to fish farming.
Our programme has public consultation at its heart and we strongly believe in the importance of listening to public opinion, which is something we would encourage all involved in this practice to do. However it is also important that the public are properly informed so they can make decisions based on facts. That is why we wanted to set the record straight after we saw unsubstantiated claims that ASC has anything to do with these practices, or somehow certifies or condones them.
ASC is unique among farmed seafood certification programmes in that all of our standards and audit reports are transparent and available to view online. Not everyone has time to read through our detailed standards of course, which is why we also try to summarise our programme and its impacts on our website, particularly on our Aquaculture Explained pages. Protecting the environment is a passion for us, as it is for many people, so we understand that discussions about such emotive issues can easily lead to misunderstandings about what we do, and what is covered by our programme. Hopefully our website can help to clarify these things, but we are able to answer any additional questions anyone may have for us.