Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)

Another BC fish farm gets ASC certified

B.C. salmon farmers are amongst the world leaders in adopting Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certifications

By Fabian Dawson


Another BC fish farm has been certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), developed by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF).

Marine Harvest Canada’s Alexander Inlet farm was the company’s 17th farm site to be  ASC certified. The site holds about 600,000 fish. B.C. salmon farmers are amongst the world leaders in adopting ASC certification, with about 15% of active Atlantic salmon farms having achieved this standard and with farmers pledging to have 100% of active farms certified by 2020.

Marine Harvest said that with 17 active certifications now, it hopes to have 24 more certified by the end of 2018, and will certify a total of about 30, depending on production schedules, by 2020 to meet its global commitment.

“Another ASC certification means that we are showing our staff and local communities that we are committed to not only adhering to strict regulations, but to achieving world leading voluntary certifications,” said Katherine Dolmage (pictured), certification manager with Marine Harvest.

“Because the ASC standard contains both social and environmental components, it shows our willingness to learn more about and reduce our impacts, while also ensuring worker rights, safety, and community interactions are a priority,” she told

Marine Harvest globally produces one-fifth of the world’s farm-raised salmon at facilities in Norway, Scotland, Canada, Chile, Ireland and the Faroe Islands. Globally, it employs over 12 000 people.

In Canada, Marine Harvest operates salmon farms on the coast of British Columbia and Vancouver Island, where 530 people produce 45,000 tonnes of sustainable farm-raised Atlantic salmon each year.

The ASC is an independent organisation—registered as a charity in both the UK and the Netherlands— and operates a third party certification and labelling programme for aquaculture around the globe. It receives no money from the certification process at any time.

The ASC believes a fish farm cannot be said to be acting responsibly if the community in which is it situated is negatively impacted by its actions.

It also requires that each farm maintains a level of transparency and accountability previously unseen in the aquaculture industry.

In addition to seeking ASC certification, The BC Salmon Farmers Association  said that all its members have committed to the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) , launched in August 2013.

This initiative brings salmon aquaculture companies around the globe together to work to minimize the industry’s environmental footprint and continue to improve social contributions.

In October 2016, Ottawa based RIAS Inc. released an Environmental Footprint Report  presenting results from a life-cycle analyses of literature on the environmental footprint of B.C. farm-raised salmon compared to production of other food proteins.

Based on the valuation of greenhouse gases, land use, water use, and eutrophication (caused by runoff from the land), B.C. salmon farming has a lower total environmental cost than beef, chicken, or pork.


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