MSC and ASC to set global standard for seaweed
March 2, 2016
he Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) are working together to create a joint global standard for certifying seaweed operations. The collaboration offers the opportunity to build on the expertise of the two leading seafood certification and labeling programs. The Seaweed Standard is intended to contribute to the health of the world’s aquatic ecosystems by promoting environmentally sustainable and socially responsible use of seaweed resources.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization around 25 million tons of seaweeds and other algae are harvested annually, representing over 15% of the total world fisheries and aquaculture production globally, with an estimated annual value of US$ 5.65 billion. Wild harvest supports a significant portion of the industry, however seaweed aquaculture has grown rapidly to meet increasing demand.
With seaweed production increasing alongside demand for certification, the MSC and ASC recognize the importance of having a global standard that rewards environmentally sustainable and socially responsible seaweed production, and provides a benchmark for improvement.
“The Seaweed Standard will demonstrate mutual sustainability principles and standard systems, referencing best available scientific understanding and industry practices that conform to international norms of good conduct, including FAO Guidelines for Ecolabelling and ISEAL Codes of Good Practices,” said David Agnew, Science and Standards Director of the MSC.
Bas Geerts, Standards Director for ASC added, “A responsible approach is critical to minimizing the environmental and social footprint of commercial seaweed production. Through collaboration we can create a meaningful standard with value for all stakeholders, while promoting environmental integrity and supporting the local communities that rely on seaweed production.”
Interested parties are invited to view the proposed Seaweed Standard and certification process, and share their expertise and feedback through an online consultation open until 30 April 2016.
The standard will allow certification from both wild harvest and farmed seaweed, regardless of the scale or location of the operation. The assessment of seaweed farms and fisheries will be guided by five core principles: sustainable populations; minimizing environmental impacts; effective management; social responsibility; and community relations and interactions.