Fair Trade USA and Aquaculture Stewardship Council Collaborate to Improve Aquaculture Industry

OAKLAND, Calif., (October 9, 2018) – Fair Trade USA, the leading certifier of Fair Trade products in North America, and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), the leading certification and labeling program for responsible aquaculture, have signed a memorandum of understanding to pilot Fair Trade USA’s requirements in some ASC-certified fish farms. Through this collaboration, the organizations will implement Fair Trade USA’s innovative model of responsible business and conscious consumption in certified fish farms adhering to the robust environmental and social criteria of the ASC standard. The pilot will also examine how the Fair Trade program can work as a ladder toward ASC certification within the framework of ASC’s newly formed Improver Programme.

“The Capture Fisheries Standard for wild fisheries has been the cornerstone of the Fair Trade seafood program since its inception in 2014, and now thousands of fishermen and workers are reaping its benefits,” said Julie Kuchepatov, Seafood Director at Fair Trade USA. “We look forward to working with ASC to bring the benefits of Fair Trade to fish farmers and workers and increase the environmental and social impact of our respective programs.”

Roy van Daatselaar, Producer Support Manager at ASC, said, “We are excited to bring the expertise of both organizations together in service of our shared goal to further improve the social and environmental performance of the aquaculture industry. ASC has had remarkable success in driving better performance and accountability through certification. We’ve created the Improver Programme to expand the benefits of the program by helping those farms that are either not ready for, or may not ultimately be interested in, certification to progress their operations and reduce their impacts. Our collaboration will allow producers to both benefit from Fair Trade’s experience in community development and ASC’s comprehensive and scientifically-driven aquaculture certification to deliver efficient pathways for those that choose to seek certification.”

The Fair Trade model enables sustainable livelihoods for fishermen around the world while empowering them to improve their communities via the Community Development Fund – additional income earned for every pound of Fair Trade Certified™ seafood sold.  To date, there are nine Fair Trade Certified seafood supply chains and several more in the pipeline. Fair Trade Certified seafood products, such as Indonesian yellowfin tuna, Mexican blue shrimp, Maldivian skipjack tuna, Alaskan salmon, and scallops from New England, are found in more than 20 leading North American retailers, including Safeway, Hy-Vee, and Whole Foods Market.

ASC distinguishes fish farms that operate to the highest social and environmental standards. ASC standards are created in a transparent, multi-stakeholder process and reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that the requirements remain robust, reflecting best global practices. With the launch of ASC’s Improver Programme, producers can now receive guidance on how to improve their farming methods. The goal of the program is to leverage market forces by attracting producers at all stages along the journey toward sustainability to drive improvements in those areas where the biggest change can be achieved. Learn more about the program at www.asc-aqua.org or contact Roy van Daatselaar at Roy.vanDaatselaar@asc-aqua.org to participate.  

Prospective organizations are invited to join the Fair Trade movement and participate in an aquaculture pilot program. Learn more about how the Fair Trade difference strengthens seafood supply chains by contacting Blake Stok at bstok@fairtradeusa.org.


About Fair Trade USA

Fair Trade USA is an internationally-acclaimed social enterprise that promotes sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers, protects fragile ecosystems, and builds strong, transparent supply chains in partnership with over 1,250 leading brands and retailers. Its trusted Fair Trade Certified™ seal signifies that rigorous standards have been met in the production, trade and promotion of Fair Trade products from countries across the globe. Recognized as a leading social venture by the World Economic Forum, the Skoll Foundation, Fast Company, and Ashoka, Fair Trade USA also provides critical capacity-building programs at origin and educates consumers about the power of their purchases. Visit www.FairTradeCertified.org for more information.


About the Aquaculture Stewardship Council

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is an independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 2010 to manage the certification of responsible fish farming across the globe. The ASC standards require farm performance to be measured against both environmental and social requirements. Certification is through an independent third-party process and reports are uploaded to the public ASC website. The ASC standards address seven principles, including the preservation of the natural environment and biodiversity, preservation of the diversity of species and wild populations, monitored and responsible use of animal feed, no unnecessary use of antibiotics and chemicals and social responsibility for both farm workers and the communities where farms are sited. For more information about ASC, visit www.asc-aqua.org.

Chris Ninnes, CEO of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, and Julie Kuchepatov, Seafood Director at Fair Trade USA, sign an agreement to pilot Fair Trade USA’s requirements in some ASC-certified fish farms.