Food Loss and Waste in Fish Value Chains
©FAO/Paula Anton
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Markets for Mortality During Grow Out

Certification and standards required by buyers of aquaculture products are designed to support the uptake and implementation of best practices which will lead to husbandry, handling, environmental and farm practices that will reduce the problem of mortality.  

Private standards are now a key mechanism for large-scale retailers and commercial brand owners wishing to translate requirements – both product and process specifications – to other parts of the supply chain. This is especially important as supply chains become more vertically integrated. Indeed, from the perspective of the firm, private standards and the certification sitting behind them can serve as mechanisms for safety and quality assurance. They can also facilitate traceability, standardization of products from a range of international suppliers, and transparency of production processes. Attachment to an environmental standard or ecolabel provides retailers and brand owners with insurance against boycotts from environmental groups and negative media coverage. Moreover, it also helps them tap into and grow consumer demand for ethical products. Consequently, the fisheries procurement policies of most large retailers typically include a significant sustainability component, often with targets for wild-caught fish to be certified to an ecolabel, and for farmed fish and seafood to be certified to an aquaculture certification scheme.  

Key elements of certification scheme or standard for aquaculture, should include: 

  1. animal health and welfare
  2. food safety
  3. environmental integrity
  4. socio-economic aspects associated with aquaculture

For example, the ASC Salmon Standard contains over 150 requirements covering legal, environmental and social issues, and requires that farmers minimise their impacts in these areas. It includes requirements on the use of medications, maintaining fish health, limiting escapes, and treating workers and communities fairly. Over 300 farms around the world are currently ASC certified, producing almost 1 million tons of certified salmon every year. Migros, the largest retailer in Switzerland, has gradually promoted the uptake of the ASC standard by its suppliers.  

Key Publications

Best Aquaculture Practices Standards for the Tilapia Industry

Information on the importance of certification is discussed.

Private standards and certification in fisheries and aquaculture: current practice and emerging issues

Included is an analysis of the two main types of private standards affecting fish trade (ecolabels and food safety and quality standards), and their importance for a range of stakeholders.

The GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Standard

The Global Good Aquaculture Standard is a worldwide organisation that sets voluntary standards for the certification.

More Resources

More Resources

One of the major issues prevailing in the fisheries and aquaculture industry in Sri Lanka is the high loss and waste of fish, and it has become necessary to introduce strategies aimed at preventing and...
The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) runs an ambitious programme to transform the world's seafood markets and promote the best environmental and social aquaculture performance.
Information on the importance of certification is discussed.