ASC and MSC release joint seaweed standard

The ASC-MSC Seaweed standard focuses on minimising the environmental and social impacts of seaweed operations The ASC-MSC Seaweed standard focuses on minimising the environmental and social impacts of seaweed operations

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) have launched a new Seaweed Standard to promote the sustainable farming and wild harvest of seaweed.

Building on each other’s expertise in standard setting and seafood certification, the ASC and MSC said the new standard will help to protect marine environments and secure the livelihoods of those who depend on them by recognising and rewarding sustainable and socially responsible seaweed production.

“Seaweed is found in a wide range of products, including food, cosmetics, medicines and fertilisers. It is a valuable resource for coastal communities and supports a growing global industry,” said Rupert Howes, CEO of the MSC.

“Seaweed also absorbs significant amounts of CO2 helping to regulate our climate, provides important habitats and protects coastlines from erosion. It is therefore essential that seaweed is harvested in a way that allows both communities and the environment to thrive. The new standard offers responsible seaweed producers an opportunity to earn international recognition for their efforts.”

Promoting sustainability

The ASC-MSC Seaweed standard focuses on minimising the environmental and social impacts of seaweed operations. Environmentally, seaweed operations must show that they maintain sustainable wild populations and actively minimise their impact on the surrounding natural environment.

Socially, the operations must be managed in an effective and socially responsible manner, care for their employees, work with the local community, and be good and conscientious neighbours.

The ASC-MSC Seaweed Standard will use the existing MSC Chain of Custody Standard to ensure that effective traceability systems are in place throughout the supply chain.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO, 2014), about 25 million tonnes of seaweeds and other algae are harvested annually with an estimated total annual value of US$5.65 billion.

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