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Seagriculture 2019

8th International Seaweed Conference

"Seaweed Success Stories"

25-26 September 2019, Ostend, Belgium

Bertrand Charron, Science & Sustainability Communications Manager, Aquaculture Stewardship Council, NL

”ASC/MSC Seaweed certification and eco-labelling – 2019 Update”




Before joining the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) as Science & Sustainability Communications Manager, Bertrand was for 20 years a journalist and editor covering the global seafood industry.  He was one of the shareholders and three co-founders of IntraFish in the 1990s; and then went on to found Bertrand is a strong advocate of a more holistic approach to the environmental, social and economic dimensions of Sustainability, Accounting (& Accountability) and Transparency in the realm of seafood & oceans governance.

In line with his advocacy for increased corporate social responsibility and transparency in the seafood industry, Bertrand created a yearly benchmark of the global Salmon Farming/Fish Feed industry and of the Top 100 seafood firms which became industry references in assessing the level (and/or lack) of proactive sustainability reporting displayed by key industry players. During his 20+ years as a journalist and editor, Bertrand edited/wrote thousands of articles re. salmon, aquaculture, seafood & economics/politics; and dozens of market/insights and benchmark reports.

Education: MSc in Biology of Populations (Univ. of Lyon I, France), Postgrad Dip. In Natural Resources Management (Univ. of Leicester, UK) and MSc/DESS in Bilingual Journalism / Foreign Correspondent (Univ. La Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris III, France).

Presentation: ASC/MSC Seaweed certification and eco-labelling – 2019 Update

Seaweeds play a foundational role in our marine ecosystem and, as demand and production increase, sourcing environmentally sustainable and socially responsible seaweed has become more challenging. This presentation will present the ASC/MSC Seaweed Standard, discuss the need for Seaweed eco-labelling via third-party independent certification, and provide the latest information re. ASC/MSC certification and trends.

Due to rapid growth of global seaweed production and its increasing economic importance, the sector naturally faces many of the same environmental and social challenges experienced by farms and fisheries. The seaweed industry must be developed in a sustainable way that considers not just how to ensure income generation, but also maintain the highest biosecurity standards, protect ecosystems and wild populations, safeguard worker’s rights and ensure an open dialogue with local communities. 

Because global production of seaweed come from both aquaculture and wild sources—with ~95% of all seaweed produced is either partially or fully cultivated— the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) have leveraged their joint expertise in their relative production areas to create a certification suited to a commodity that uniquely straddles the divide between fisheries and aquaculture. The ASC-MSC Seaweed Standard is ISEAL compliant and based on scientific understanding and international best practice.

The ASC/MSC Standard aims to:

•    Be applicable to global wild harvest and cultured seaweed operations of all sizes

•    Promote sustainable and socially responsible seaweed operations

•    Provide consistent assessment of global operations through best practice benchmarking

•    Provide incentives for improvements through ASC’s and MSC’s theories of change.

MSC and ASC use a market mechanism to drive change in the aquatic environment and global seafood market (the theory of Change). The certification programme incentivise best practice for sustainable fishing in the wild-capture and aquaculture sector; and provides traceability and assurance (via its Chain of Custody Standard) that products with the MSC and/or ASC logo come from an certified fishery and/or farm. 

Keywords: Seaweed cultivation, Eco-labelling, Third-party independent Certification, Auditing, Social responsibility, Sustainability, Market Transformation

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