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Why ASC?

We set the standard for seafood. If you see the ASC label on pack, you can be sure that your seafood was farmed with care.

Our impact

By choosing ASC labelled seafood, you are making a proven, positive impact on people and the planet.

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Join the most recognised certification programme as proof of your responsible farming practices to a global audience.

Our impact

ASC creates measurable positive change in global seafood farming.

Find out more

The ASC programme is successful because of all producers and partners involved. Read our reports and stories.


Join the most recognised certification programme and benefit from trading ASC certified seafood.

Our impact

ASC creates measurable, positive change in global seafood farming.

After certification

In addition to accessing our global network of secure and flexible supply, ASC partners benefit from marketing their ASC certified seafood.

Human Rights in aquaculture

At ASC we care about the people that are involved in farmed seafood, both those employed in its production and the communities where the farms are located.

Around 21 million people are involved in seafood farming globally and a further 7.5 million are employed in hatcheries, feed production, processing, and retail. The sector is a major contributor to people’s livelihoods and communities.
As with any industry, if not carried out with proper care and attention, seafood farming can have negative impacts on people’s wellbeing such as through poor working conditions, social exclusion, and land grabbing. To address these challenges, ASC’s certification programme includes comprehensive human rights requirements, and is constantly developing in line with latest information, and best practices.

Our vision for human rights in aquaculture

We envisage an aquaculture sector where employees and communities have a decent quality of life. It is our mission to protect the human rights of those who work in aquaculture, or live in surrounding communities, and improve their wellbeing. We also aim to act as a catalyst for broader industry-wide change.

Our human rights projects

At ASC, our work on human rights in aquaculture focuses on topics related to the rights of employees, Indigenous people, and communities. As well as regularly revising and updating the human rights’ requirements in our standards, we also work on several key projects.

Human Rights requirements in the Farm Standard

With the alignment of our species standards into one ASC Farm Standard comes an opportunity to further develop and strengthen ASC’s human rights requirements, in consultation with a broad range of stakeholders. Based on ILO conventions and other international standards of decent work, the ASC Farm Standard includes criteria on:

FAQs about ASC’s human rights programme

How are human rights addressed in our ASC standards?

ASC manages 11 Species Standards, a Feed Standard and shares a joint Seaweed Standard and Chain of Custody Standard with MSC. These standards were developed through public consultation at different moments and vary in their inclusion of human rights requirements. The ASC Farm Standard will align all requirements into one singular standard.  

All current ASC Standards cover the fundamental rights listed in the ILO Declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work, including: 

  • Freedom of association 
  • No forced labour 
  • No child labour 
  • No discrimination 
  • Safe and healthy working conditions 

Aspects that align with several other ILO and other conventions include: 

  • Fair wages 
  • Transparent contracts 
  • Decent working hours 
  • Fair disciplinary procedures 
  • Fair grievance mechanisms 
  • Good community engagement. 

The ASC Feed Standard provides the most comprehensive human rights and labour requirements so far. It also includes a Country Risk Scorecard that assigns a social risk level to 184 countries. This guides feed producers on how much due diligence they must carry out in sourcing ingredients from different countries.

How are the human rights standards audited?

ASC has a Social Auditing Methodology (SAM), which requires a full social audit at every initial certification and recertification audit, and again during the certification cycle. The SAM requires that ASC social auditors follow processes as described in ISO 17021-1 and ISO 19011, as well as a set of ASC requirements, which include holding an opening and closing meeting at the social audits, conducting walkthroughs, reviewing documents and records, and a minimum number of private interviews with different personnel. Social auditors are required to have specific qualifications, experience and local knowledge, and ASC also trains social auditors on the specific ASC social requirements. As part of the SAM, ASC has developed a Social Auditing Risk Assessment calculator to determine the level of required audit effort based on several country and farm-level risk factors.

Is ASC transparent about its social certification and auditing processes?

ASC discloses all audit reports and audit results on its website (see Find a Farm page) including for farms that are certified, or that have had their certificates cancelled, suspended, withdrawn, or not awarded, whose certificate expired, failed an audit, or are in an initial audit stage. The audit reports contain information on the nature of nonconformances or grievances and stakeholders can comment on draft audit reports before they are finalised. Both the draft and final versions of the audits are published. The same will apply for feed mills once certified. The ASC GIS mapping portal shows the location of farms across the world and offers additional information about each farm.

How does ASC factor in multiple stakeholder views?

The initial ASC Standards were developed with a wide range of stakeholders in the Aquaculture Dialogues. Public consultations remain key in revising existing standards and developing new ones – with efforts made to include all relevant stakeholder groups. Technical Working Groups that advise on new topics for inclusion in the standards also include stakeholder groups. ASC is stepping up its efforts to involve harder to reach groups by working with trade unions, human rights NGOs, and representatives of Indigenous communities in the development of processes and governance structures.

Does ASC certification address remediation? If so, what are the requirements around remediation when abuses are found?

Yes, there are remediation requirements for child and forced labour, and guidance on remediation including timelines and best practices. The latest version of the ASC assurance documents (Certification and Accreditation Requirements, v2.3) that sit alongside the Feed and Farm Standards include updated references to remediation of human rights issues, focusing on engagement of farms to develop and implement effective remediation with oversight from the Certification Assessment Body or other bodies. 

Partners we work with on human rights

To achieve our vision, we partner with buyers and other supply chain actors, NGOs, trade unions, academics, other voluntary sustainability systems and we are a member of ISEAL and the Global Living Wage Coalition.


Learn more about our work on Human Rights


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