ASC Programme Centre Beta

Feed Standard

fish in hands

The UoC sources marine ingredients responsibly


Marine ingredients fulfil an important role within the aquafeed industry as they deliver essential nutrients. Given this key role, it is foreseeable that marine ingredients will remain part of the global feed ingredient supply, despite environmental and social concerns. ASC recognises this and seeks to incentivise the fisheries, and the marine ingredient producing industry, to improve the sustainability of supplying fisheries over time as an effective way of addressing and reducing impacts. 

Given the global differences in sustainability performance of (forage) fisheries, an improvement model (“Majority Sustainability Level”) has been developed in which four sustainability levels are identified (Sustainability Levels L1 – L4; see Annex 4). The improvement model is applied to the majority volume (50-100%) of whole-fish marine ingredients. A minority volume (0-49%) can be allocated to any of the remaining levels, or a combination thereof. This flexibility ensures that supplying fisheries involved in improvement programmes retain market access – the critical incentive to keep improving. Overall, the Majority Sustainability Level reconciles the undeniable differences, and challenges, that global (forage) fisheries face in terms of their environmental sustainability, yet, enables feed manufacturers to progress their individual sourcing improvements conforming to a single, global, model.

Feed manufacturers enter at any of the defined levels on the basis of their recent sourcing profile of whole-fish marine ingredients. From here, the Majority Sustainability Level of the whole-fish marine ingredients must improve over time (majority volume moves one level higher per three years). 

ASC will require 100% MSC, or equivalent, certified marine ingredients over time, as referenced by the Aquaculture Dialogues. As such this would become a fifth level in a revised version of the Majority Sustainability Level. Reviewing the feasibility of this fifth level will be determined through the Standard revision process and on the basis of careful considerations of volume demand and availability. In a similar fashion, the use of mass-balance will be reviewed and when appropriate and feasible, a transition to segregated supply will be considered.

4.1.1The UoC shall determine the volume of marine ingredients[160] received, for fish by-products[161] and for whole fish, score whole fish ingredients according to categories 1-4 in Table 2, and from that calculate the UoC’s Majority Sustainability Level (MSL) (Annex 4).
4.1.2For initial audits, the UoC shall calculate its Entry Level (EL). EL is the MSL of the 24 months prior to the initial audit. 
4.1.3The UoC shall maintain its MSL during the initial certification cycle, at a minimum, the same as the EL (Annex 4)[162]
4.1.4The UoC shall increase its MSL for each subsequent certification cycle, at a minimum, one level higher[163] than the level of the previous certification cycle (Annex 4). 
4.1.5The UoC shall calculate, report to ASC, and publish[164] its Majority Sustainability Level (MSL) for each certification cycle.
4.1.6The UoC shall calculate, report to ASC, and publish[165] the volume of the marine ingredients it has used over the previous certification cycle.