First tilapia farm in Belize certified to ASC standard
December 21, 2015
The first tilapia farm in Belize has become ASC certified. The Fein Catch tilapia farm is the first of its kind in Belize to gain certification against the ASC Tilapia Standard for responsible aquaculture after independent assessment by certifier Control Union Peru.
“I would like to congratulate Fein Catch on their certification. This is a great example of the diversity of the farms engaged in our programme,” said Chris Ninnes, ASC’s CEO. “This year, we have seen the ASC programme grow rapidly with an end of year tally of nearly 200 certified farms across 23 countries, and close to 100 farms in assessment. We look forward to more producers in Central America and beyond coming on board and making a commitment to responsible aquaculture.”
“It’s encouraging to see the farmed seafood sector in countries such as Belize make strides towards environmental and social stewardship,” said Mauricio Mejia, Programme Officer of Aquaculture for the Mesoamerican Reef Programme, WWF-Belize. “This year, 95 per cent of Belize shrimp farmers gained ASC certification. We hope that this positive trend will boost more certifications of Tilapia and other aquaculture species in the region. WWF-Belize, together with IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative which provided the necessary funding to support this tilapia farm, will continue to help farms developing better management practices so that they comply with the ASC standard.”
Responsible tilapia farming
The ASC Tilapia Standard aims to address the key negative environmental and social impacts of tilapia farming. It was developed through a comprehensive multi-stakeholder process that included participation from farmers, seafood suppliers, conservationists, scientists, government officials and other interested parties.
Transparency is a key component of the ASC programme and supports all steps of the certification process. ASC does not assess farms itself. Independent third party certifiers audit farms against the ASC standards to assess whether they are operating responsibly; it is also the independently accredited certification body that issues the farm with its certificate.
Stakeholder views are actively sought as part of the audit process. Farm audits are publically announced at least 30 days ahead of the assessment. And, all audit reports are made public on ASC’s website allowing for stakeholder input through a public comment period. This is a unique feature of the ASC programme that ensures the principles of inclusiveness and openness are followed.