On October 24-27, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), together with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), convened in Puerto Varas, Chile with a select group of North American retailers and suppliers for the first “ASC & WWF Salmon Workshop and Summit,” aimed at connecting the North American retail landscape to ASC-certified salmon production more directly.
The workshop was the next round in a series of certified seafood summits that began in July 2022, with the inaugural “ASC Shrimp Summit” in Guayaquil, Ecuador. October’s Chilean Salmon Summit gathered representatives from Costco, Disney, Giant Eagle, Avendra/Aramark, Beaver Street Fisheries and Acme Smoked Fish Corporation, many of whom traveled over 20 hours to attend in the remote, southern coastal Lakes District of Chilean Patagonia.
Chile is now the world’s second largest producer of farmed salmon. According to the USDA, approximately 48% of salmon by volume imported into the U.S. comes from Chile, totaling over 165,000 metric tons annually. ASC reports that the volume of ASC-certified salmon produced in Chile has grown by 85% since January 2021, with 205 farms currently ASC-certified and another 71 in assessment.
ASC-Certified Farm Sites by Standard, Top 20 Countries:
The October gathering focused on farmed Atlantic salmon with insights geared heavily toward responsibly farmed ASC-certified and labeled salmon production. The multi-day summit addressed:
- How salmon producers in the region are transitioning to more environmentally and socially responsible production models.
- Key challenges and initiatives for responsible salmon production in Chile being undertaken, including retailer, supplier and producer discussions centered around market demand.
- The environmental impacts of salmon feed and how feed companies are working towards more responsible and traceable feed.
- A “Farmed Salmon & Innovation Tour” letting participants see the innovative work being done towards more responsible production right on the farm.
The Salmon Summit’s coverage of responsible feed is particularly relevant amid the fall launch of ASC’s Feed Standard. The new standard institutes strict environmental, social and sourcing requirements addressing issues both in the supply chain and at a raw material level to validate the sustainability conditions of 100% of all feed ingredients. Requirements on reporting of performance will also improve the transparency of the industry, reward environmental sustainability, and assist future research into responsible feed.
The takeaway for retailers in attendance was increased security in sourcing from Chile, not only due to insights gained into the production of ASC-certified and labeled salmon, but in the new Feed Standard’s assurance that feed ingredients – and the environment – will be as protected as farm operations.
“October’s ASC Salmon Summit and Workshop was successful in communicating the wants and needs of our customers directly to seafood producers and feed producers,” noted one of the event’s attending retailers. “Opportunities like this provide us the platform to push the sustainability needle forward in the Chilean farm-raised sector.”
“We are honored to conclude another successful summit demonstrating ASC’s goal to convene the North American marketplace with producers,” added Marcos Moya, Global Outreach Lead, ASC. “By connecting the dots, ASC can help companies deliver more responsible, certified and labeled Chilean salmon into a market that’s seeing growing consumer demand. Based on the positive feedback and growth that has come from these activities, expect more global summits to follow in 2023.”
Event organizers confirmed the commitment of buyers in attendance was lockstep, with the message to producers consistently advocating for more ASC-certified salmon in their markets. ASC already has at least three new summits slated for 2023, with the next taking another round of retailers and suppliers to explore ASC-certified shrimp in India next spring. If you are interested in learning more about the opportunity in India, please email us here.
Learn more about what goes into ASC’s sea green label.