ASC Programme Centre Beta

Feed Standard

A Standard[4] is “a document that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for products or related processes and production methods, with which compliance is not mandatory”. 

ASC Standards are designed as follows:

  • ASC Standards consist of multiple Principles – a Principle is a set of thematically related Criteria which contribute to achieving the broader outcome defined in the Principle title;
  • Each Principle consists of multiple Criteria – each Criterion defines an outcome that contributes to achieving the outcome of the Principle;
  • Each Criterion consists of one or several Indicators – each Indicator defines an auditable state that contributes to achieving the Criterion outcome. 

Both Principles and Criteria include Rationale statements providing the reasons (backed by reference notes if needed) as to why the Principle or Criterion is needed.

Language use, acronyms and definitions

The Principles, Criteria and Indicators are written in an active form, using “the UoC” as subject. 

Throughout the ASC documents, specific wording is used to indicate:

A requirement[5]i.e. shall
A recommendation[6]i.e. should
Andprovides inclusiveness of choices
Orprovides inclusiveness of choices

An Acronym List and Definition List are included in Annex 1.

The Scope of the ASC Feed Standard (hereafter “the Standard”) addresses key negative environmental and social impacts associated with the (aquaculture) feed[7] industry. Entities (the UoC) certified to the ASC Feed Standard contribute in reducing or eliminating these negative impacts.

The Scope of the Standard is translated into 5 Principles:

Principle 1

The UoC has a management system to implement the ASC feed standard, including operating legally, and in a socially and environmentally responsible manner

Principle 2

The UoC sources ingredients responsibly

Principle 3

The UoC accounts for eligible ingredients input and feed output

Principle 4

The UoC sources marine ingredients responsibly

Principle 5

The UoC sources plant ingredients responsibly

Unit of certification

The Unit of Certification (UoC) is a feed manufacturer[8] (refer to the CAR & RUoC documents for further definition). The ASC Feed Standard does not differentiate between aquafeed manufacturers that produce pelleted or extruded aquafeed, as long as the feed manufacturer and the feed ingredients[9] meet the indicators of this Standard.

For feed manufacturers that produce both aquafeed and other livestock and poultry feed[10], the ASC Feed Standard applies to the entire facility for Principle 1, whilst Principles 2-5 apply to only the ingredients used for the manufacturing of the aquafeed.

The requirements for certification processes are documented in the CAR.

Scope of Standard

Within each criterion, the applicability is defined in the scope heading.

Principle 1

applies to the entire UoC, not only to aquafeeds.

Principles 2 and 3

all ingredients that represent >1% of the total annual ingredient-weight (volume) received by the UoC for use in aquafeeds. In case the UoC also produces livestock feed, the received volume shall be based on the ingredient volume destined for inclusion in aquafeed. Excluded are feed additives (per default, regardless of volume limit): premixes[11], vitamins, minerals, trace elements[12] and colourants. 

Principle 4

Marine-based ingredients used by the UoC in aquafeeds.

Principle 5

Plant-based ingredients used by the UoC in aquafeeds.

The ASC Feed Standard addresses the following actors in the ingredient supply chain:

  • Feed Manufacturer (UoC),
  • Ingredient Manufacturer[13]:
    • Commodity trading[14] and transporting[15] companies are not considered as Ingredient Manufacturer.
  • Primary raw material production[16].

Relationship between the Standard and applicable law

In the case that an applicable law or collective bargaining agreement is stricter than a requirement in the Standard, such law or collective bargaining agreement will prevail unless such law has become obsolete. In the case that an applicable law or collective bargaining agreement is less strict than a requirement in the Standard, the requirement in the Standard will prevail, unless the requirement is forbidden by law or statute.

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is the owner of this document.

For inquiries, comments, questions, and feedback regarding the content of this document or to request a hard copy of public summaries, standards, or other related materials, please contact the Standards and Science Team at

Document version history:

Version control

V1.0114 January 2023ASC branding, introductory text, general layout, and hyperlinks updated
Language, phrasing and flowcharts updated for clarity
Definitions List replaced with link to ASC Vocabulary Portal
Indicator 1.6.1 (list amended)
No changes to other indicators or requirements
V1.014 January 2023New document

It is the responsibility of the user of the document to use the latest version as published on the ASC website.

To ensure the continued effectiveness of the ASC standards, as outlined in ASC’s Theory of Change, the review must occur at least every five years. The next review of the ASC Feed Standard is intended for 2025. 

Available language(s)

The official version of this document is English. The ASC may translate the Standard into additional languages as necessary. In case of any inconsistencies and/or discrepancies between available translation(s) and the English version, the online English version (pdf-format) will prevail. 

Copyright notice

This document is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. 

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