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ASC Farm Standards – Good Practices in Aquaculture (2017)

This good practice focuses on the importance and implementation of responsible aquaculture through Aquaculture Sustainability Council’s nine farm standards.

Primary Functions

  • Understand why sourcing from Aquaculture Sustainability Council certified producers contributes to better managed fish farming that can minimize negative environmental and social impacts like water pollution and disruption of local ecosystems.

Detailed Description


ASC’s standards for responsible aquaculture address the key environmental impacts of farming, set requirements for workers’ rights and protect communities surrounding certified farms. The current eight ASC standards cover 12 species: abalone, bivalves (clams, mussels, oyster, scallop), freshwater trout, pangasius, salmon, shrimp, tilapia, seriola and cobia. There is also a joint ASC-MSC standard for seaweed.

The robust standards are the result of the Aquaculture Dialogues, a set of multi-stakeholder round-tables that brought together more than 2,000 aquaculture stakeholders. ASC uses a rigorous monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process to capture the effort farms make on their journey towards environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

ASC’s M&E system entails the following:

  • Articulate our Theory of Change
  • Set a M&E framework
  • Define results chains with intended changes and unintended effects
  • Set up data management system
  • Define indicators to monitor and evaluate those changes and effects
  • Create a mechanism to adapt our programme over time

Farms must show that they actively minimize their impact on the surrounding natural environment. This extends to careful management of the fish health and resources.

Environmental benefits

  • Improved disease control
  • Better monitoring of discharge water and sludge
  • Improved waste treatment
  • Reduced fish mortality rates
  • More extensive benthic surveys
  • Dedicated wildlife officer to ensure optimal upkeep of fish stocks and protection of local ecosystems

ASC’s standards for responsible aquaculture are based on best practices and sound science. The measurable, metric- and performance-based standards apply globally to farming systems covering a range of locations, types and scales of operations. To ensure a credible, inclusive and transparent standard setting process the standards were developed in line with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) guidelines and ISEAL’s (International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labeling) Codes of Good Practice. All ASC standards are also managed in compliance with the ISEAL Standard Setting Code and ASC Standard Setting Procedure.

Additional information




Topics & SDGs


WWF Mitigation

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