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Mowi Scotland targets ASC certification for all sites. As part of Mowi’s global commitment to lead the Blue Revolution and following the publication of their sustainability strategy, Mowi Scotland is targeting to achieve Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification at all of its freshwater loch and seawater production sites.

Rory Campbell, technical manager, told the Mowi Scotland newsletter, The Scoop, that the company is committed to meeting this target.z

He said: “The ASC Salmon and Freshwater Trout standards are the most robust and far-reaching environmental and social standards for global aquaculture. As a business, Mowi has globally committed to achieving 100% ASC certification for all our farms. This is a long-term objective and I’m proud to say that in Scotland we have a plan in place for 2020 to expedite certification at a number of our sites and play our part in achieving this vision.”

Part of this plan will be to achieve certification for all Mowi Scotland’s freshwater loch sites in Scotland during 2020, along with an additional number of our seawater production sites. The ASC standards for responsible aquaculture address the key environmental impacts of farming, set requirements for workers’ rights and protect communities surrounding certified farms. The current 11 ASC standards cover 17 species groups which include salmon.

However, up until the revised ASC standards introduction in December 2019, the ASC did not allow the production of salmon smolts in freshwater lochs. The juvenile life stage of the salmon is a very important part of the salmon’s lifecycle. Although there are alternative environments for the smolt production at this stage such as recirculation units, freshwater lochs are still a big part of our farming business and production strategy in Scotland.

Now, the standard that governed freshwater trout production will allow the production of salmon smolts in freshwater lochs, Mowi Scotland can put a plan in place to achieve ASC certification for all of its sites. As part of the ASC roll out plan for all of Mowi Scotland’s sites, the company has appointed a dedicated certification manager, Samuel Clegg. Samuel has been tasked with the implementation of ASC certification and will both help with the audit process and get our sites up to speed with these standards.

Samuel Clegg explained: “I started a couple of months ago and my feet have barely touched the ground! We have an ambitious target and therefore a lot of work ahead of us. I joined from a third party accreditation body, similar to the type that the ASC uses to carry out the auditing process. I also have experience in aquaculture, so I am drawing on all this experience in the lead-up to our first audits which will happen at the end of January.”

Following the first round of audits early next year in freshwater, several other farms will be added to the audit schedule throughout 2020. The number of farms put forward for ASC certification will increase through 2021 and over time, the plan is for 100% of Mowi Scotland’s sites to be certified by the ASC.

Rory Campbell added: “I firmly believe that the ASC standards drive you to be a better farmer, a better neighbour and have less impact on the local environment. These standards go way beyond local regulation as the auditors look at everything from water quality, environment quality, interactions with wildlife, communication with local communities, disease and lice levels (which must be reported at farm level on a weekly basis). Ultimately, the ASC standard provides reassurance for retailers and consumers that the salmon they are purchasing has been farmed responsibly and sustainably.”