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ASC Discovery Tour Hosts Global Retail Audience, Showcases Responsible Salmon Farming in Norway

June 21, 2024

Norway Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) in partnership with Control Union Norge hosted a group of international buyers to promote responsible aquaculture through by delivering an up-close view of ASC certified salmon farming operations on the islands of Hitra and Frøya in Norway.

The Discovery Tour provided the group with detailed and educational insights into the most current topics in responsible salmon farming and certification, while offering a chance to see the ASC Salmon Standard in action.  

About half of globally farmed salmon is produced in Norway and this includes the highest volume of ASC certified salmon. There are currently 342 ASC certified salmon farm sites in Norway, representing around 40% of all Norwegian salmon. Due to the importance of Norway in global salmon aquaculture, connecting stakeholders across the supply chain is vital to show the positive impact ASC is making on the ground. 

Over the four-day tour, 12 attendees from retailers and suppliers were welcomed to the facilities and farms of Leroy, Salmar and Mowi. North American companies joined buyers from across the globe, including Disney, Highliner, Loblaws, Pescanova Sainsbury’s, Colruyt, Frais Embal, and E-mart. The tour offered unique insights into each producer’s individual farming operation, demonstrating the role that ASC certification and labeling play in setting the strictest standards for environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

Highlights included:

  • A visit to one of Leroy’s hatchery facilities highlighting the complexity of the salmon lifecycle and value-chain.
  • A visit to Salmar’s ‘Ocean Farm 1’, the first large-scale off-shore farm, demonstrating the impressive scale of Salmar’s open sea farming innovation, prompting a discussion on the benefits and scalability of this farming method. 
  • Tour of a Mowi harvest vessel that showed how Mowi’s innovative approach to harvesting directly at sea provides welfare benefits through fewer handling steps.

Winnie Choo, Senior Quality Assurance Manager of Loblaws Canada, said, “The tour was truly enlightening and deepened my understanding of the intricacies and advancements in sustainable aquaculture. I appreciated the opportunity to witness firsthand the innovative practices employed to ensure responsible and environmentally friendly salmon farming. I particularly valued the comprehensive presentations and the guided visits to various facilities which provided a thorough overview of the entire process from hatchery to harvest.”

Florent Delpierre of Frais Embal said, “The ASC Discovery Tour on salmon in Norway allowed us to see the entire supply chain from egg to plate by visiting three different farmers. The requirements of the ASC label are significant and are focused on making the industry increasingly responsible. This also allowed us to understand the salmon feeding strategy, which will be a major issue for balance.”

The tour ended with a workshop and networking event. Speakers included feed company Biomar, who discussed the complexities and innovation needed in aquaculture feed, highlighting the differences the ASC Feed Standard makes regarding traceability of feed ingredients. The Norwegian Seafood Council provided consumer insights of salmon from markets across the globe and event sponsor Control Union Norge presented an overview of assurance services for ASC certification. 

Several ASC Discovery tours are held each year and offer retailers unrivaled access and in-depth insight into aquaculture producer regions. Tours also give producers the opportunity to connect with the global market and showcase their continuing commitment to responsible aquaculture. If you are a buyer or producer who would like to participate in the future, please contact ASC Global Lead Producer Outreach Marcos Moya at Marcos.moya@asc-aqua.org for more information. 

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