- Awarded by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, less than 5 per cent of Scottish salmon farms have been certified against the strict criteria to achieve ASC status*
- If salmon farming is not managed responsibly some of the potential negative environmental impacts include pollution of the surrounding seabed and diseased fish
- ASC farms must overcome these issues to achieve certification by regularly monitoring water quality and dissolved oxygen levels and proactively keeping their fish healthy without over-reliance on antibiotics or chemicals
Sainsbury’s has become the first UK supermarket to have 100% of its fresh Scottish salmon range independently certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). Seafood that carries the ASC logo has been sourced from farms that have been independently certified as both environmentally and socially responsible.
To meet the ASC standard, farms must undertake an independent audit in which they are assessed against a host of strict, science-based requirements. These conditions include the quality of the water, impact on the seabed, and fish health, through to the fair treatment and pay of workers on the farm. Certified farms are re-audited every year and must regularly publish key performance metrics to ensure ongoing compliance.
In Scotland less than 5 per cent of all salmon farms have been certified against the exacting criteria set by ASC. 100% of Sainsbury’s Sea Bass, Sea Bream, Tilapia, Basa and chilled & frozen King Prawns products are already ASC certified.
When it comes to sustainable foods, 16% of consumers report that a lack of understanding about what is and isn’t sustainable is a barrier to a more eco-conscious diet, despite nearly three-quarters (73%) thinking it is important to buy food that has a low environmental impact.** Sainsbury’s is taking steps to ensure that customers can be confident that any selection of fresh seafood purchased in store or online will be fresh, of high quality and responsibly sourced.
The news comes as Sainsbury’s continues with its mission to help everyone eat better, making healthy and sustainable diets – which are good for customers’ health as well as the planet – accessible to everyone.
Gavin Hodgeson, Head of Agriculture, Aquaculture & Horticulture at Sainsbury’s said: “We know it’s our responsibility to ensure the food on our shelves is as sustainably sourced as possible, which is why we’re so pleased to become the first UK retailer to offer 100% ASC certified fresh Scottish salmon.
“Over the next few years we’ll continue working closely with our suppliers to ensure food is sourced sustainably from all perspectives – socially, environmentally and economically.”
Chris Ninnes, ASC CEO said: “We believe consumers want to make a difference with their food choices, by choosing seafood from responsible farmers. But this can only happen if retailers provide shoppers with a comprehensive choice of certified products, which is why this commitment by Sainsbury’s is so important.
“Scottish salmon is a world-famous product, for good reason. But it must be produced in a way that also preserves the iconic environment in which it is farmed. Sainsbury’s customers now have the chance to play their part in supporting responsible salmon farming by looking for the ASC logo.”
Sainsbury’s has committed to becoming Net Zero in its own operations by 2035, five years earlier than its original ambition. Recently the retailer has also been helping Prevented Ocean Plastic repurpose 297 tonnes of plastic from the coastline into packaging for fish and strawberries.
*Currently nine Scottish salmon farms are ASC certified. According to the latest figures from the Scottish government, as of 2019 there were 226 active salmon farming sites in the country. Source: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-fish-farm-production-survey-2019/pages/5/