SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] September 14, 2016

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) announced a partnership with Qingdao Tao Ran Environmental Science and Technology (Tao Ran), a professional Chinese environmental firm to help grow the market for ASC-certified seafood products in China.

The agreement will accelerate the growth of the ASC certification programs in China. Tao Ran has been contracted to lead the strategy implementation and to expand the adoption of ASC farm standards. The firm’s aquaculture staff will work seamlessly with the ASC team to promote the availability of ASC certified seafood for consumers within China, and in the many countries that buy aquaculture products from China.

“Our partnership with Tao Ran is a milestone for the ASC programme,” said Chris Ninnes, CEO of ASC. “The ASC has seen rapid growth across Asia, and as China is the world leader in aquaculture production and consumption, it is crucial that we position the programme to meet the increased demand for certification in the country.”0

As the world’s largest producer, consumer and exporter of fish and fish products, China has enormous potential to transform a substantial proportion of the global aquaculture industry the ASC said. Aquaculture represents 70 percent of total seafood production in China by volume and accounts for over 60 percent of world aquaculture production. China is also a major importer and consumer of aquaculture products.

“By deeply rooting the ASC’s leading certification and labelling programme in the world’s largest and oldest aquaculture producing country, aquaculture practitioners and seafood consumers around the globe will benefit,” said Qing Fang, Tao Ran’s aquaculture program leader. “Working together, we can improve the health of China’s aquatic ecosystems by providing incentives to improve environmental operations and the conditions for those working on the farm and living in the surrounding communities. We are excited to be part of this great cause.”
This innovative partnership will allow ASC to seize the historical opportunity of the Chinese government’s policy for a “market-oriented mode” in economic development. The agreement includes a long-term strategy to support the development, improvement and adaptation of ASC standards and engage and assist ASC Chain of Custody (CoC) certified companies. The agency will play a key role in both building new partnerships and strengthening existing ties with the Chinese seafood industry, affiliated associations, NGOs and key government agencies. In addition to an expansion of the existing work with China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA), the partnership will pursue new initiatives with Chinese public research institutes, leading producers, as well as retail and food service sectors in the region.

As the ASC programme expands into China, the number and capacity of certification assessment bodies (CABs) operating in China must also increase. Tao Ran’s aquaculture expertise will assist CABs by providing local knowledge and coordinating ASC Standards training workshops for CAB assessors.

The agreement will allow the ASC to more easily secure participation and contribution from key Chinese aquaculture stakeholders in ASC’s global projects including the Core Standard, the Marine Finfish Standard, the Responsible Feed Project, Multi-site Certification and the joint ASC-MSC Seaweed Standard.