Aquaculture is finally getting its well overdue time in the spotlight.
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2022 the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022), a moment to recognize the contributions of small-scale artisanal fishers, fish farmers and seafood workers to human well-being, healthy food systems and poverty eradication.
It’s a timely opportunity to celebrate and showcase the growing aquaculture industry, notes the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), as seafood farming is fast becoming the largest source of seafood worldwide.
ASC is the world’s leading certification program for environmentally and socially responsible seafood with more than 1,600 certified farm sites worldwide, including producers as small as Varma Farm in Italy, which produces 603 kg of fish annually.
ASC shares three key facts about aquaculture:
- Since 2019, aquaculture has been the leading source of seafood globally compared to wild-caught fish, and it’s only growing. So, too, is seafood demand, which is expected to nearly double globally by 2050, meaning aquaculture will play an even greater role in feeding the world.
- Due to overfishing and destructive practices, about 33% of wild fish stocks have already reached their biological limit. Aquaculture helps meet the current and growing demand for seafood while relieving the pressure on wild fish populations and sustaining vibrant local communities and jobs.
- As farmed seafood continues to expand in grocery stores nationwide, it’s important to check the labeling to ensure the seafood comes from certified, responsibly raised farms.
However, not all certifications are equal.
Despite industry advances, aquaculture still faces challenges with fraud, mislabeling and questionable conditions. That’s why it’s important to look for responsible seafood products labeled by a trusted certification process like the ASC, one of the world’s only certifiers of both environmental and social aquaculture performance.
Since 2010, ASC has been creating and enforcing the world’s strictest combination of standards for farmed seafood. Today it is transforming the seafood industry with a new level of certification. This “new way to seafood” includes:
- Seafood that can be traced all the way from the farm to the store, ensuring the seafood on the shelf is what it claims to be.
- The strictest requirements to protect the environment, workers and communities where seafood is raised.
- Improving farmed seafood quality and safety, so shoppers can truly enjoy the flavor of their favorite seafood recipes.
To learn more about the growing practice of aquaculture today and throughout the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, learn more about what we do and what our sea green label stands for.