The Shrimp Standard
Certified farms actively minimise their impact on the surrounding natural environment.
Certified farms operate in a socially responsible manner, care for their employees and work with the local community.
ASC certified shrimp farms minimise impacts on their neighbouring ecosystem in a number of ways, such as partial restoration of lost mangrove forest, the development and implementation of a biodiversity-focused environmental impact assessment (B-EIA) and ensuring farms are not sited in critical habitats. Since shrimp farming often occurs along coastal areas, a permanent coastal barrier must be in place between the farm and the coastline.
ASC certification requires shrimp farms to adhere to strict limits to minimise use of wild fish as an ingredient for feed. In addition, the standard requires farms to ensure full traceability back to a responsibly managed source, preferably certified, for wild fish, but also for palm oil and soy.
ASC certified shrimp farms are required to measure water quality parameters (nitrogen, phosphorus, oxygen levels, etc.) at regular intervals and remain within set limits. Treatment systems for waste water need to comply with strict requirements. Discharge of sludge is not allowed.
ASC certified shrimp farms must adhere to rigorous requirements to minimise disease outbreaks. A health plan for the shrimp must be developed and implemented on the farm. This plan details steps for biosecurity management, including the use of pathogen-free shrimp larvae for pond stocking. In addition, the use of medicines before a disease is diagnosed (prophylactic use) is prohibited. Medication may be used for animal welfare reasons and only under strict conditions. Producers need to manage farms in such a way that shrimp survival rates are high.
The ASC Shrimp Standard prohibits ASC certified shrimp farms from using any antibiotics on ASC certified shrimp. If the farm has to use antibiotics, then the treated shrimp are not eligible to be sold as ASC certified or labelled product.
If ASC becomes aware that an ASC labelled (shrimp) product tests positive for antibiotics, a thorough investigation will be undertaken to try to determine where and how the product came into contact with the antibiotics. If it is determined that antibiotics were used in contravention of the ASC Shrimp Standard, or that Chain of Custody (CoC) or licensing requirements were breached, the farm or processor may be suspended from the ASC Programme or have their logo licence agreement revoked (see also: Programme Assurance).
The persistence of antibiotic residues differs among compounds. In shrimp, the half-life is shorter compared to fish species, but it notably increases with more frequent treatments. It is important to note that the duration of antibiotic residues is influenced by various factors, and their actions and mechanisms in different backgrounds can vary. Consequently, a comprehensive assessment of the presence of antibiotic residues requires careful consideration of the species, specific antibiotic-residue combinations and the occurring environmental conditions.
ASC certification imposes strict requirements based on the core principles of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), these include prohibiting the use of child labour or any form of forced labour. All ASC certified farms are safe and equitable working environments where employees earn a decent wage and have regulated working hours. Certified farms need to consult and engage with local communities to ensure they provide access to vital resources and deal with complaints or conflicts in a proper manner.