ASC certified salmon isn’t really a “Good Alternative” seafood

by Sarah Foster on June 5th, 2017

SeaChoice disagrees with the decision by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program to consider farmed salmon certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) as a “Good Alternative”. Seafood Watch published its new recommendation on June 5th, following a benchmarking review of the ASC’s Salmon Standard.

The Seafood Watch benchmarking suggests that salmon farmed on ASC-certified Canadian farms merits the “Good Alternative” ranking—except that Canadian farms certified by ASC don’t actually meet the criteria benchmarked by Seafood Watch.

The benchmarking exercise looked exclusively at the Salmon Standard as written and did not review its practical application. In Canada and elsewhere in the world, ASC has approved Variance Requests that substantially alter the Salmon Standard in practice.

SeaChoice calls on the ASC to take immediate action to repeal its variance request processes, in order to legitimately benchmark to a Seafood Watch “Good Alternative” recommendation.

More information:

SeaChoice media release

Benchmarking & Eco-Certifications

Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC): Variances and Process

4 Responses to “ASC certified salmon isn’t really a “Good Alternative” seafood”

  1. June 19, 2017 at 1:36 pm, Jenny Harris said:

    ASC is a global standard and as such will require local nuances to allow for smart standards. It is a normal part of any global certification. Your constant opposition and narrow view of one species, one farming method, in one region, is starting to paint your group as irrelevant after a decade of the same.

    Jenny Harris


    • July 27, 2017 at 9:26 am, Sarah Foster said:

      Thank you for your comment. SeaChoice member groups have been active stakeholders in the ASC and the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogues for more than a decade. This has included Steering Committee representation during the dialogue, membership in the Technical Advisory Group, the sea lice working group, as well as active stakeholder engagement on ASC audits and projects.

      The intent of the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue was to establish a standard based on global best practice performance anchored in farm-level metrics. It was anticipated only the top 15 percent of salmon farms globally would be able to meet the certification standard.i Therefore, it was expected that regions, waterbodies and technologies that are inherently better suited for salmon aquaculture would be more likely to be meet the standard requirements.

      However, accepting that regional nuances may need to be considered in certain circumstances; SeaChoice has recommended to the ASC that the variance approval process be improved to be science-based, transparent and inclusive of regional stakeholders.


  2. July 05, 2017 at 5:50 pm, Frazer Bryan said:

    The ‘Pocket’ guide. Being in colour looks great but is lousy when printed in B/W which most people have as b/w printers are better for environment. How about an app so it can be updated as needed in my phone?


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