First ASC-certified shrimp farm in Thailand: big step forward for responsible aquaculture
To become ASC certified, a farm must meet strict standards for environmental and social responsibility, including fair labor practices. The standards benefit not only businesses, but also communities, consumers and the environment. By getting certified, aquaculture producers reduce their impacts on the environment and the communities they work with, and are able to tap into the growing Thai and global markets for responsibly produced seafood.
“BAP’s Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification is a first for Thailand and a huge step forward for responsible aquaculture in Thailand,” said Suriya Ratipattarawong, Senior Aquaculture Officer at WWF-Thailand. “By taking the lead in reducing their environmental and social impacts, they are showing that the private sector has an important role to play in sustainability.”
BAP achieved ASC certification with support of WWF’s Market Transformation Initiative (MTI) through an Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP). WWF helped BAP analyze the gaps between their operations and the ASC standard, after which it developed and executed an action plan to improve practices. BAP’s operations were then rigorously evaluated by third party auditors to ensure minimum impact on the environment through the efficient use of resources and cutting out chemicals and antibiotics, ultimately conserving biodiversity and important natural ecosystems. The auditors also assessed labor practices as well as transparency and responsiveness to local communities about their impacts.
“ASC certification helps us to maintain our customers who are demanding for sustainable practices of our shrimp farms. This is the new trend from all part of the world including USA, Europe and Australia. We foresee more and more requirement of this ASC certification in the coming near future. Not only we can keep our customers happy, we expect with new learning and maintaining up to ASC standard, our farms will be beneficial to ourselves and the community as well as surrounding environment of our farms. We hope to be the leader in Thailand for all these perspective”, said Poj aramwattananont, Ph.D., President of Wales Group Company.
BAP’s certification is the first step toward a more responsible, sustainable aquaculture in Thailand, meeting international standards and providing access to international markets. International export is a crucial factor for the Thai aquaculture industry: in 2015, seafood export was valued at 208 billion Thai baht ($5.9 billion USD), and 30 percent of shrimp production was exported. There is growing global concern about the environmental and social impacts of aquaculture, and Thai producers risk losing access to these key markets if they cannot prove that their operations meet international standards.
“By proactively moving toward international certification through ASC, Thai aquaculture producers can invest in the future of their business and the environment,” Ratipattarawong added. “WWF stands ready to work with any Thai companies who want to achieve a sustainable and profitable future.”
The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is an international non-profit organization that sets environmental and social standards for certifying responsible and well-managed fish farms. www.asc-aqua.org
Best Aquaculture Partners (BAP) farm is part of Seawealth Frozen Foods Company. The farm is located in Surat Thani, Thailand and produces 200 MT of shrimp per year. It is the first company in Thailand to undergo an Aquaculture Improvement Project(AIP) aimed at achieving ASC certification.