WWF/ASC Poised to Launch Certification Standards for Farmed Shrimp

Co-founded in 2009 by the World Wide Fund (WWF) and the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative,Council (ASC) is poised to launch its certification standards for shrimp.  Jose Villalon, director of aquaculture for WWF, said the standards should be completed by the end of March 2011.  “After the completion of each standard, there’s a period of about six to eight months to complete the guidance document for implementation,” said Villalon.  “Obviously, the ASC can’t do anything until they receive that guidance document.  …ASC is about improvement over time.”

Villalon said when our “outreach” is completed and the major retailers and foodservice suppliers understand the ASC difference, “That’s when you’ll see the value of what we’re doing.”

Philip Smith,  CEO of the ASC, acknowledged that while a huge amount of emphasis has been placed on the WWF-directed Aquaculture Dialogue process, lots of attention is needed elsewhere, such as a thorough look at chain-of-custody assessments.

Peter Hajipieris, director of sustainability and external affairs with Birds Eye Iglo and a member of the ASC supervisory board, said the first ASC-branded products are likely to appear in retail markets toward the end of 2011.  He said work is still being done on the design of the ASC logo that will be used on ASC-certified products.

This is the first time an aquaculture standard has been created under the ISEAL (International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labeling Alliance) code.



Vietnam: Tra fish regain their sterling reputation

Vietnam’s tra fish has beaten down ungrounded slurs from World Wildlife Fund’s branches in six European countries.

A source from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Vietnam told VIR today that the tra fish was in late January, 2011 removed from the red list and officially re-listed in WWF’s yellow list, which encouraged consumers use tra fish as a quite safe dish.

“I am happy to report that Vietnamese pangasius is off the red list on all of the European WWF seafood guides,” said WWF global seafood coordinator Mark Powell in a statement sent to WWF Vietnam. Read more of this post

FAO publication: Private standards and certification in fisheries and aquaculture

Private standards and certification in fisheries and aquacuture

Hello everybody,

FAO has just released a publication named “Private Standards and certification in fisheries and aquaculture; current practice and emerging issues”

To download the report, click here: Private standards and certification in fisheries and aquaculture

I did not read it yet, but i am happy to post the introduction below:

Private standards and related certification schemes are becoming significant features of international fish trade and marketing. They have emerged in areas where there is a perception that public regulatory frameworks are not achieving the desired outcomes, such as sustainability and responsible fisheries management. Their use is also becoming more common in efforts to ensure food safety, quality and environmental sustainability in the growing aquaculture industry.

Private standards are now a key mechanism for large-scale retailers and commercial brand owners wishing to translate requirements – both product and process specifications – to other parts of the supply chain. This is especially important as supply chains become more vertically integrated. Indeed, from the perspective of the firm, private standards and the certification sitting behind them can serve as mechanisms for safety and quality assurance. They can also facilitate traceability, standardization of products from a range of international suppliers, and transparency of production processes. Read more of this post

Pangasius production and marketing: Focus on quality

On January 18, 2011, in Can Tho city, the Steering Committee for Pangasius Production and Marketing held a conference on development management of the sector in the year 2011.


Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Director of the Fisheries Directorate (D-Fish), Mr. Vu Van Tam chaired the meeting. Participants included D-Fish Deputy Director Pham Anh Tuan; officials from the provincial agriculture and rural development departments (DARD); related ministries, sectors, enterprises and farmers; and professional associations.

According to the 2010 summary report, through December 30, 2010, nearly 2.4 billion of fish fries have been stocked in 5,400ha of farming area in the Mekong Delta. Pangasius output of the region is estimated more than 1.1 million MT. Pangasius export turnover is expected to reach US$1.4 billion with export volume of 645,000MT.

Pangasius farming area in Dong Thap province decreased to 1,580ha in 2010, with an output of 291,000MT and export turnover of US$299 million. Mr. Dang Ngoc Loi, Deputy Chief of Dong Thap DARD said “With one breeding center at national level, five hatcheries at district level and many small hatcheries, Dong Thap can provide 1.3 billion Pangasius juveniles annually, meeting demand of local farmers. In 2011, Dong Thap strives to increase Pangasius farming area to 2,000ha, with an output of 300,000MT.

According to Director of Can Tho DARD, in 2010, the province has already implement the Pangasius farming area planning, reduced the number of small-scale farms, and expanded concentrated farming area. By the end of 2010, Can Tho had 750ha for Pangasius farming, with an output of 230,000MT, a decrease of 5 percent over the previous year. In 2011, Can Tho will focus on strengthening the links between four stakeholders in the Pangasius chain: farmers, processors, feed producers and seed providers.

Most participants at the conference stressed on the importance of Pangasius output management in 2011. Mr. Nguyen Huu Dung, Vice Chairman of VASEP, said D-Fish and the Steering Committee should ask Viet Nam government to focus on quality instead of volume in Pangasius production. Mr. Duong Ngoc Minh, Director of Hung Vuong Corp, said “If we have to assure the higher output by year, we will not have advantages in Pangasius production and export. It is now essential to have quality standards as soon as possible.”

This year, D-Fish will concentrate on building VietGAP – Viet Nam’s standards for the certification of production processes of agricultural and aquaculture products.

Pangasius production in 2011 is planed to reach 1.2 to 1.3 million MT in 2010, with an export turnover of US$1.45 to 1.5 billion.

In his closing speech to the conference, Mr. Tam pointed out following solutions to consolidate Pangasius production in 2011:

1-      Intensifying propaganda campaign for Pangasius as a safe, hygiene, delicious and cheap seafood product.

2-      Transferring 100,000 improved quality Pangasius broodstock to the major Pangasius producing provinces in Mekong delta. And strengthening application of scientific and technologies achievements in socializing Pangasius breeding production.

3-      Fisheries sector in close collaboration with the State Bank try to provide up to 70 percent of the investment demand of farmers and producers in 2011.

4-      Tightening the inspection of input factors according to the Decision No.172 and better controlling epidemic and diseases.

5-      Establishing different types of linkage between professional associations related to Pangasius production.


Source: Vietfish


Vietnam, WWF sign deal to promote tra fish

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Fisheries General Department and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on December 17 reached an agreement to promote Vietnam’s tra (pangasius) fish so that it can attain global sustainable development standards.


At the meeting, the two sides signed a long-term cooperation memorandum of understating (MOU) to help the fish earn the Aquatic Stewardship Council (ASC) certified credit label, which will bring benefit and market access for the product.

The signing came two days after Mark Powell, global seafood coordinator for WWF, agreed to remove the fish from the Red List in its consumer guidance manual.

Under the MOU, the WWF will take responsibility for promoting ASC certified Vietnamese tra fish globally in order to help fish breeders earn a premium value for their product.

Accordingly, preparations for the work are planned to be completed in the first half of 2011, including the organization of seminars and training courses for fish farmers and the processors.

It is hoped that this will create a consensus among them in complying with ASC standards.

According to Nguyen Huu Dung, vice chairperson of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the Fisheries General Department and WWF set a goal of attaining relevant international sustainable development standards of 25 percent for Vietnam’s export tra fish volume for the year 2011 and 2012, with 10 percent to be certified by ASC.

The target is set to increase to 75 percent, with 30 percent certified by the ASC by 2014.

From 2015, it is hoped that 100 percent of export tra fish will achieve international standards on sustainable development, with half of them certified by the ASC.

Mr. Dung said Vietnam has exported 650,000 tons of tra fish a year and the volume will increase to about 800,000 tons in the next five years, meaning that the country will have 400,000 tons of tra fish attaining ASC standards.

He said WWF promised that prices of the Vietnamese tra fish will be much higher, if the fish is certified by ASC.

Though WWF said it will take responsibility for seeking financial sources to support Vietnam in the process of attaining ASC certification, it did not mention if Vietnamese farmers need to pay for the ASC certificate.

At the signing ceremony, the Fisheries General Department reported that WWF officially removed Vietnamese tra fish from its ‘Red List on December 17, and advised consumers worldwide to continue buying the fish.



Qualasa Expertise wants to help you decoding Seafood Eco-labels

Hi Everyone,

Because the red listing of the Pangasius by some WWF organization (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway and Denmark) make a lot of noise, i want to help you to have a better understanding of the certification process and its consequences.

Please find below some link of interesting reports and study than can help you to have a better understanding.

They are comparing several fisheries and aquaculture standards (MSC, FOS, IFFO for fisheries and BAP, FOS, Globaltrust and ASC for aquaculture)


  • If you want to have a look as the buying guide from WWF Germany, please click here




We have more document in our data base, if you are interested, do not hesitate to contact us!!

I hope you will learn a lot of things in this documents. Do not hesitate to share with us your point of view and / or your document in the topic. We want to be a real plateform to share document and point of view on certification in Aquaculture.

Thanks !

Aquatic regards!

Vietnamese Tra fish industry committed to improving quality

Pangas Harvest in South Vietnam

Agriculture and aquaculture sectors account for 52 percent of GDP in the Mekong Delta region with shrimp and Tra and Basa fish as key export products. Therefore, Tra fish industry has always been committed to improving its products’ quality.

Many Pangasius breeding areas in Vietnam adopted international standards, allowing their products to be exported to more than 120 countries and territories around the world.

Since 2003, the provinces of Dong Thap and An Giang and Can Tho city, the biggest Tra fish suppliers for seafood processing factories, have been following international standards including the Global Good Agriculture Practices (Global GAP).

Take Gentraco Corporation as an example, the company has a modern water treatment system for its 60-ha breeding area. It also uses safe biological products (editor’s note: probiotique) in Tra fish breeding.

Le Chi Binh, Vice Chairman of the An Giang Fisheries Association, affirmed the safety of Tra fish breeding in the province. He said large-scale areas regularly submit reports on environmental impact of fish breeding while smaller ones must have an environmental safety certificate.

An Giang has been using the quality management certification system SQF 1000 introduced by the US Food Marketing Institute (FMI) since 2003 and has now adopted the Global GAP standards, said Binh.

Vietnam’s Tra fish products met requirements of 120 countries and territories all over the world, many of which are high demanding markets such as the EU, Australia, the US, and Japan. Tra fish export reaches an average annual turnover of US$1.5 billion.

The Government has also built a development strategy for the sector to ensure its sustainability and ecological safety.

Great effort to build safe breeding areas

Despite many difficulties, Tra fish breeders in the Mekong Delta region have been working closely with domestic and international organizations, including the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), to build safe breeding areas to meet WWF’s requirements. However, the WWF member organizations in six European countries made an incorrect decision while the cooperation is still developing.

Vo Van Thanh, a farmer in Dong Thap, said he was very surprised at WWF’s decision to place Vietnam’s Tra fish on its Red List because he himself was being trained by WWF to build safe breeding areas.

In fact, many organizations and institutions in Vietnam are moving toward the sustainable development of the industry. They focus much attention to protecting the environment by treating sewage and limiting the use of chemical substances to deal with epidemics. Besides, farmers are now all aware of food hygiene requirements.

In addition, businesses are cooperating with the Research Institute for Aquaculture No. 2 (RIA 2) to introduce modern production models to qualify for Global GAP certification.

Associate Professor Nguyen Thanh Phuong, from Can Tho University, said the university and the RIA 2 are working with some Tra fish breeders to introduce a pilot model for improving the breeding management.

The model aims to reduce production cost and protect the environment to  ensure the safety of the breeding area.

Vietnam’s aquaculture industry, particularly Tra fish sector, is making every effort to improve the quality of the products and protect the environment. It needs support and cooperation from prestigious organizations like the WWF.

However, WWF’s decision, based on unofficial information, has negatively affected tens of thousands of Tra fish breeders and producers in Vietnam, as well as and consumers around the world.

Source: VOV News VN

Pangasius on RED LIST by WWF: WWF answers to VASEP


The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) defended its w arning consumers not eat most

Vietnamese catfish after Vietnamese officials called the ratings a smear.

The latest consumer fish-buying guides by the WWF warned against eating most Vietnamese catfish because of alleged unsustainable aquaculture practices. On a sustainability scale of green, yellow, and red, the group rated Vietnamese catfish as red and not certified by international quality labels.

However, certified organically raised Vietnamese catfish received a green rating. Non-organic catfish certified by the international industry group GlobalGap was rated yellow.

Vu Van Tam, the deputy minister of agriculture in charge of fisheries, expressed surprise that the WWF would reject Vietnamese catfish after the group has been involved for years in efforts to set the industry’s sustainable aquaculture standards. “WWF has worked with Vietnam in many areas,” the newspaper Agriculture quoted Tam as saying Monday. “I don’t understand where they get the information to give such a rushed rating, which is unrealistic and unscientific.”

The newspaper quoted another deputy agriculture minister, Le Phuong Phuong, as saying Vietnamese catfish was being”smeared” because it was “too good.” Mark Powell, WWF International’s global seafood coordinator, told German Press Agency dpa the organization stood by its judgement that uncertified Vietnamese catfish was unsustainable because of the environmental impact of intensive farming practices.

He acknowledged higher quality Vietnamese producers felt “unfairly targeted” because seafood guides in some countries had printed only WWF’s overall red rating and not the green and yellow ratings for its certified catfish, also called pangasius. The WWF’s aim, he said, was to help high quality producers distinguish themselves from low-quality ones.

“We are helping them differentiate themselves from their competition by telling the world that typical pangasius from Vietnam is unsustainable,” Powell said.

Flavio Corsin, director of an aquaculture sustainability centre at the Vietnam Fisheries Society, said he believed the WWF analysis had left out important factors. Corsin, who previously worked at the WWF on Vietnamese catfish standards, said the report failed to account for the industry’s efficient use of land. Vietnamese catfish farmers can raise 100 tons of fish in a one-hectare fish pond, he said, meaning farms are compact and have less ecological impact.

Powell said that issue had been taken into account but that intensive aquaculture created problems of its own, such as polluted water discharge. “The best thing the government of Vietnam could do to help their pangasius industry is develop better governance of the industry,” Powell said.

read also on our blog:

Pangasius on the RED LIST by WWF (22 November 2010)

Pangasius on the RED LIST by WWF: Vietnam rejects WWF claim, says its catfish clean (6 december 2010)

Pangasius on the RED LIST by WWF: the Vietnamese response (7 december 2007)

Final Public comment period for the Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue draft standard

WWF logo




01 December, 2010 –

The World Wildlife Fund-organized Shrimp Dialogue kicked off its last public  comment period on Wednesday. Feedback received during the 60-day period will be  used by the dialogue’s global steering committee to finalize its global farmed-shrimp  standards in the first half of 2011.

“It is very important that the entire shrimp industry, including retailers, farmers and scientists, continue to be involved with the development of the standards for responsible shrimp aquaculture so that they can be the most credible ones in the marketplace, and I strongly encourage all industry players to submit their comments,” said committee member Dominique Gautier.

Final Comment Period for Shrimp Standards

The last public comment period for providing feedback on the draft standard for shrimp aquaculture developed by the Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue began December 1, 2010 and will end February 1, 2011. Input received will be used by the Dialogue’s Global Steering Committee (GSC) to finalize the standards during the first half of 2011.

Please send your feedback to shrimp Dialogue coordinator Corey Peet at coreypeet@gmail.com by 11:59 p.m. EST February 1, 2011. Include your name and the organization/business you represent.

The final standards will help minimize the potential negative environmental and social impacts associated with shrimp aquaculture. Impacts from the industry include water pollution, disease outbreaks, clearing of mangrove forests and disruptions of community livelihoods.

The standards-development process is coordinated by WWF. It began in 2007 and has included more than 400 producers, conservationists, government officials, academics and other shrimp farming stakeholders. Six open Dialogue meetings have been held – in Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America and South America – and the GSC has met eight times to develop and revise the draft standards document based on feedback received. Also, the GSC has convened outreach meetings with small-scale shrimp farmers in India, Vietnam and Thailand; large-scale producers in East Africa; people who live near shrimp farms in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Brazil; government agencies that provide assistance to shrimp farmers; and shrimp buyers from Europe.

General tips for submitting comments

  • Group your comments together (e.g., general comments, comments for issue 1, comments for issue 2).
  • Ensure that you fully understand each standard so that your comments are relevant.
  • Your comments can be negative or positive but they must be constructive, clear and propose a solution to the issue raised.
  • Keep your comments targeted to the standards.
  • If you comment on a particular word, phrase or sentence, provide the page number and/or section number for that item.
  • Provide references to relevant documents you know of that support your comments.
  • Note: Commenting on the standards does not denote endorsement of the standards.


Draft standard document

– Appendix IV: White Paper on Presence and Impact of Exotic and Domesticated farms shrimp in the Wild.

Appendix IV: Environmental and Social Issues associated with genetically modified ingredients in shrimp aquaclture feed.

– Appendix VII: Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue Process Document.

More info on http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/globalmarkets/aquaculture/dialogues-shrimp.html

USDC Certification for Vietnamese seafood!

Vietnam is ramping up its use of United States Department of Commerce inspections to verify compliance with its HACCP and food safety requirements.

The Vietnamese Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) held a recent meeting and seminar with David Moisan, Regional Director for USDC Seafood Inspection Program (SIP), Charles and Lisa Cardile of C&S Laboratory Consultants and Jim Bugbee, a consultant and former head of QVD (a leader in Pangasius and seafood products from Vietnam) in the USA, to discuss the requirements, benefits and future trends of the program.

About 50 companies attended the meeting, including some shrimp exporters.

The USDC program is gaining prominence in Vietnam as USA-based customers now look to the USDC Seafood Inspection Program (SIP) as a third-party verification of HACCP compliance and food safety for all exported seafood products.

There are currently three processing plants in Vietnam in the SIP program all of which have worked with C&S Laboratory Consultants to assure compliance with USDC and FDA regulations.

There are over 38 processing plants currently in the overseas USDC program from 12 countries.  The recent memorandum of understanding between FDA and USDC could make this program an integral part of HACCP compliance and food safety assurance for both exporters and importers.  The USDC is the only USA government regulatory agency specifically focused on seafood safety, quality and HACCP compliance.

In 2011, USDC is planning to make available a new seal that can be used on both food service and retail consumer packaged goods highlighting compliance with this USA government program focused on overseas producers.

Source: seafood.com

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