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ASC announces partnership for development in China

September 14, 2016

The ASC has formed a partnership with Qingdao Tao Ran Environmental Science and Technology (Tao Ran), a professional Chinese environmental firm.

The agreement will accelerate the growth of the ASC programme in China. Tao Ran has been contracted to lead the strategy implementation and to expand the adoption of ASC farm standards. The firm’s aquaculture staff will also work seamlessly with the ASC team to promote the availability of ASC certified seafood for consumers within China, and in the many countries that buy aquaculture products from China.

“Our partnership with Tao Ran is a milestone for the ASC programme,” said Chris Ninnes, CEO of ASC. “The ASC has seen rapid growth across Asia, and as China is the world leader in aquaculture production and consumption, it is crucial that we position the programme to meet the increased demand for certification in the country.

Leveraging local expertise will allow the ASC to respond effectively to interest by retail and foodservice partners and the growing community of farms seeking to improve their environmental performance and social standards to meet demand from the international marketplace. Tao Ran has the capacity to help the ASC make meaningful change in China, and will work with our global team to execute a cohesive strategy to transform aquaculture towards environmental sustainability and social responsibility.”

“By deeply rooting the ASC’s leading certification and labelling programme in the world’s largest and oldest aquaculture producing country, aquaculture practitioners and seafood consumers around the globe will benefit,” said Qing Fang, Tao Ran’s aquaculture program leader. “Working together, we can improve the health of China’s aquatic ecosystems by providing incentives to improve environmental operations and the conditions for those working on the farm and living in the surrounding communities. We are excited to be part of this great cause.”

As the world’s largest producer, consumer and exporter of fish and fish products, China has enormous potential to transform a substantial proportion of the global aquaculture industry. Aquaculture represents 70 percent of total seafood production in China by volume and accounts for over 60 percent of world aquaculture production. China is also a major importer and consumer of aquaculture products.

This innovative partnership will allow ASC to seize the historical opportunity of the Chinese government’s policy for a “market-oriented mode” in economic development. The agreement includes a long-term strategy to support the development, improvement and adaptation of ASC standards and engage and assist ASC Chain of Custody (CoC) certified companies. The agency will play a key role in both building new partnerships and strengthening existing ties with the Chinese seafood industry, affiliated associations, NGOs and key government agencies. In addition to an expansion of the existing work with China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA), the partnership will pursue new initiatives with Chinese public research institutes, leading producers, as well as retail and food service sectors in the region.

As the ASC programme expands into China, the number and capacity of certification assessment bodies (CABs) operating in China must also increase. Tao Ran’s aquaculture expertise will assist CABs by providing local knowledge and coordinating ASC Standards training workshops for CAB assessors.

Importantly, the agreement will allow ASC to more easily secure participation and contribution from key Chinese aquaculture stakeholders in ASC’s global projects including the Core Standard, the Marine Finfish Standard, the Responsible Feed Project, Multi-site Certification and the joint ASC-MSC Seaweed Standard.

Tao Ran Environmental Science and Technology provides professional management services to organisations dedicated to the conservation and management of environmental resources. The firm works in partnership with fisheries and the aquaculture industry to make the changes needed to move the Chinese seafood industry towards a sustainable future.

Qing Fang leads Tao Ran’s responsible aquaculture programme for ASC. Qing is an accomplished veteran of the sustainable seafood industry, whose work experience includes roles at CAPPMA, the Chinese Fishery Bureau of Ministry of Agriculture, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Songlin Wang is the founder and CEO of Tao Ran Environmental Science and Technology. Songlin has over 10 years experience in marine conservation and has worked with TNC, WWF and the Paulson Institute and currently oversees Ocean Outcomes’ China Program.

The ASC is an independent, not-for-profit organisation co-founded by the WWF and The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) in 2010 to manage the certification of responsible fish farming across the globe. An independent, international organisation, the ASC aims to transform the aquaculture industry to a higher standard through a global certification and labelling program with a focus on good environmental and social practices. The ASC certification system meets international codes of good conduct, including FAO Guidelines for eco-labelling and ISEAL Standard Setting Codes.

The ASC has gone from strength to strength since the first farm entered assessment in 2012. This July, the ASC reached a major milestone when the 300th farm was certified. In recent months, the programme has welcomed a number of farms in new regions, including Madagascar, Iceland and Brazil. The ASC also joined forces with Rio 2016 and the MSC to supply certified seafood to the participants and spectators at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The partnership has made history as the largest commitment to responsible seafood made by any athletic event to date.

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