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First shrimp farm in Malaysia to achieve ASC certification. A monumental milestone has been achieved for the aquaculture industry in Sabah as a Tawau-based shrimp farm became the first of its kind to receive an Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification (a globally recognised eco-label) in Malaysia, reported the Borneo Post.

In Malaysia, traditional shrimp farming started nearly a century ago, but the industry bloomed with the establishment of hatcheries between the late 1970s to the early 1980s.

Shrimp farming plays a vital role in contributing to gross domestic product and employment nationally.
Sabah is the largest shrimp-producing state in Malaysia, producing 7837 mt of vannamei shrimp in 2021. The growth of shrimp farming however has resulted in several issues, such as mangrove conversion and disease outbreaks.

Sankina Aquaculture, established in 2011, suffered great losses due to a shrimp disease outbreak in 2016-2017.

To further elevate their green practices, Sankina Aquaculture, in partnership with WWF-Malaysia implemented the Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP) in 2019. The AIP was supported by Marina Bay Sands and WWF-Singapore to assist aquaculture farms in achieving ASC certification and advancing their sustainability journey.

Through the programme, Sankina conducted restoration and preservation activities for the mangrove areas within and adjacent to their farm site, implementing strict protocol where wastewater is pre-treated to manage pollution and setting up systems to improve workers’ welfare.

As a result of the mangrove preservation efforts, sightings of migratory birds surrounding the farm have increased. This, along with other efforts under the AIP programme with the support of the Department of Fisheries Sabah has subsequently led the way for Sankina Aquaculture to be awarded the ASC certification, making it the first shrimp farm in Malaysia to receive the globally recognised eco-label certification.

Sankina Aquaculture Sdn Bhd managing director Jenny Ou said:

“ Sankina Aquaculture is delighted to be awarded the ASC certification for our ongoing efforts towards sustainability and responsible business practices. This recognition is a testament to our deep commitment to preserving the planet and ensuring a brighter future for generations to come.”

“Achieving ASC certification is a significant milestone in our journey towards sustainability. As we continue to innovate and improve, we are proud to share this accomplishment with our cherished stakeholders who have supported us through every step of this journey. To our customers, employees, suppliers and community, we extend our sincerest appreciation and gratitude for your unwavering support and encouragement. We are honoured to share this achievement with you, and we look forward to continuing our journey towards a more sustainable future together.”

Roy van Daatselaar, Global Lead ASC Improver Programme, congratulates Sankina Aquaculture for their continuous efforts to be a force of positive change and act as an industry frontrunner:

“Obtaining ASC certification reflects Sankina’s substantial efforts to improve their performance following a strict assessment against the ASC standard. The collaboration of Sankina Aquaculture and WWF-Malaysia through the Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP) is a true token of transformational change which hopefully inspires other farms to follow on a similar improvement pathway.”

“We are proud to have supported Sankina Aquaculture in their sustainability journey and congratulate them on achieving the ASC certification. Their commitment to responsible aquaculture practices and the preservation of the natural environment aligns closely with our own commitment to responsible seafood and offering our customers the highest quality local, regional and sustainable produce at Marina Bay Sands,” said Meridith Beaujean, Executive Director of Sustainability, Marina Bay Sands.

“When managed responsibly, aquaculture development can thrive without causing harm to the environment, especially in vulnerable mangrove areas in Malaysia,” commented Sophia Lim, Chief Executive Officer of WWF-Malaysia.

“We hope the ASC certification of Sankina Aquaculture will serve as a model for other aquaculture farms in Malaysia and will become the catalyst towards sustainability for the broader aquaculture industry in Malaysia,” concluded Lim.