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ASC withdraws certification from Nova Austral. The CEO of Chilean salmon farmer Nova Austral,  Nicos Nicolaides, has left the company, and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has withdrawn certification of its farms following allegations of irregularities , including ‘occasions of mis-reported mortalities’.

A statement on the Nova Austral website says: “The internal and independent investigation being carried out by Nova Austral found certain irregularities in the information delivered to Sernapesca (National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service) during its last production cycle. The company rectified those errors, and is collaborating with the authorities to achieve a quick resolution. Nova Austral will guarantee full compliance with all regulations applicable to our activity.

“What happened does not match Nova Austral’s management, production and integrity standards, company that has been recognized worldwide for its antibiotic-free, sustainable and

committed to the environment and environment. For this reason, the board of Nova Austral decided to make changes in the administration of the company. Nicos Nicolaides leaves the company and Francisco Miranda, who recently joined as Operations Manager (COO) of Nova Austral, will direct sales and operation responsibilities. Also, Nicolas Larco, former finance manager of Cencosud Chile, will be incorporated as the new finance manager of the Company. Both will assume the responsibility to execute the strategy and vision of Nova Austral.

“In order to create better conditions for our salmon and reduce biological risks in

the biomass, Nova Austral is close to completing the construction of a new fish farm in the Region of Magallanes, which meant an investment of US $ 45 million. This fish farm was designed to improve the quality of the fish to be cultivated and normalize the mortality rates, which recently they were affected by a poor condition of the smolts delivered by external suppliers, for the algae outbreak in 2016 and transportation problems from the regions of La Araucanía and Los Lagos. These and other efforts will allow us to maintain a continuous supply of salmon free from antibiotics to our clients, and will reinforce the role of the Company as a pioneer in the southern region of Chile.

“In spite of everything that happened, and of the decision adopted today by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) of temporarily suspend our license to use ASC logos until they complete their internal reviews, Nova Austral continues to operate under ethical production practices that are sustained thanks to our dedicated team of more than 800 collaborators, which works tirelessly to offer our customers the quality product they expect.”

In a statement the Aquaculture Stewardship Council said: “Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is aware of the decision by Sernapesca to commence legal proceedings due to the irregularities discovered in their initial investigation of Nova Austral and the admission by Nova Austral of identified ‘occasions of misreported mortalities,’ as a result of its own internal investigation.

“In consideration of the seriousness of these proceedings and admissions and to protect the reputation of the ASC, ASC has terminated Nova Austral’s Logo Licence Agreement (LLA) while waiting for the outcome of further investigations by ASC’s third-party certifier. This is consistent with previous actions taken by ASC regarding similar instances of deceptive practices; which are not tolerated.

Upon notification of the termination of the LLA, Nova Austral must:

  • Immediately cease the use of the ASC logo and all ASC trademarks for any purpose
  • Halt all sales of products that show ASC trademarks.This includes any product with an ASC chain of custody (CoC) number
  • All products not yet identified as ASC certified can only be sold as non-certified product
  • Within 24 hours, provide ASCI with a complete inventory of all labelled product, including product that has been marked with CoC numbers
  • Inform all clients of the termination of their LLA

“This decision is valid for all products with the above labelling status, from all Nova Austral farms, not only those originating from Aracena 3 and 19.

“The investigation by third party independent conformity assessment body (CAB) Control Union Peru remains ongoing and may result in further action regarding the certified sites of Nova Austral.

“ASC will contact relevant parties including Sernapesca as part of an initiative to develop a risk-based and collaborative approach to determine whether there are broader compliance issues within the Chilean salmon industry.”