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Second ASC Shrimp Summit Brings Global Perspectives to Ecuador

June 21, 2023

As Demand for Certified Seafood Grows, ASC and SSP Deliver Markets Straight to the Source

In only its second year the “ASC Shrimp Summit” is proving to be a unifying global event in the journey to source more certified seafood. From June 12-14, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and Sustainable Shrimp Partnership (SSP) reunited to host a second summit based in Guayaquil, Ecuador with an aim to provide key market stakeholders a front row seat to responsible shrimp farming, serving up on-the-ground insights and new commercial possibilities. 

Where the inaugural 2022 summit focused specifically on uniting the North American marketplace with Ecuadorian producers and processors of ASC certified shrimp, ASC and SSP opted to expand the 2023 audience due to increased demand for ASC certified and labeled shrimp products in key markets around the world.

Shrimp buyers from over seven countries were in attendance, representing a diverse group of major retail and procurement operations, including Sam’s Club and Foodbuy (U.S.), Groupe Casino (France), Brakes (UK), Aldi Süd (Germany), Sonae (Portugal), Aeon and Coop (Japan).

“This trip helped me become aware of the importance of the shrimp industry in Ecuador,” said Hayette Djellouli, Seafood Buyer at Groupe Casino, which manages over 11,500 retail stores across France and Latin America. “Particularly when it comes to the processes required to ensure responsible aquaculture, notably in terms of husbandry practices, marine ecosystems protection, and the ever-present social dimension of aquaculture.”

Attendees benefited from a full program of activities designed to deepen their understanding of Ecuadorian shrimp production and showcase the value behind ASC’s certification and labeling program. 

Visiting ASC certified farms and processing plants and speaking directly with the people involved in these operations allowed buyers to witness in-person the benefits that reduced environmental/social impacts and improved traceability can have – not only on the region’s farmed shrimp industry, but to their customers back home.

“My experience visiting processing plants in Ecuador was great,” said Anthony Snow, Seafood Director at Albertsons Companies – one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States, operating over 2,200 stores nationally. “We got to see a lot of further processing and value-added capabilities.”

Marcos Moya, Global Outreach Lead for ASC, reflected on the eventful three day summit: “We are delighted to have brought together buyers from all over the world to engage with Ecuadorian shrimp producers who are meeting ASC’s highest standards. The ASC is determined to match growing global demand for certified shrimp with a responsible supply backed by the credibility of our certification and label. The second ASC Shrimp Summit has created a new round of opportunities and we look forward to supporting these global relationships.”

Furthermore, Pamela Nath, Director of SSP, emphasized that the summit was an excellent platform for visitors to witness firsthand the special focus that Ecuadorian shrimp producers have on quality, food safety, and responsible production. “Our guests experienced the commitment of SSP members with sustainability, their constant ability to innovate and not only meet market demands, but also exceed expectations.” 

The export possibilities in the Ecuadorian shrimp market are considerable – with the country already the world’s largest shrimp producer and exporter of Pacific white shrimp (P. Vannamei) to Europe, China and the U.S. In 2022, Ecuador exported more than 1 million MT of shrimp, reaching 66 countries, and adding $6.7 billion worth of exports to the country’s economy. Ecuador produces approximately 40% of ASC certified shrimp globally.

ASC has plans to expand these commercial visits to other producer countries where relevant, responsibly raised ASC certified seafood is growing in supply. The organization has added at least two additional summits covering new certified and labeled species in 2023.

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