The first shrimp verified by the Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative (ASIC) is hitting US markets. True Food Kitchen is one of the first US buyers to initiate an ASIC partnership to source whiteleg shrimp from Thailand from ASIC Shrimp Level 1 verified farms, which are equivalent to a Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program “Good Alternative” recommendation.
“Environmental and social well-being are closely linked. ASIC shrimp reflects that relationship between livelihoods and sustainability,” says Wendy Norden, Seafood Watch Science Director.
At a time when the seafood industry is fraught with negative headlines, ASIC approaches shrimp aquaculture improvement differently than most by fostering improvement with the farmers and stakeholders themselves. As a result, ASIC farms and processors are providing environmentally and socially responsible shrimp with fully traceable supply chains.
“ASIC is the first improvement program that’s built by stakeholders from the Southeast Asian region, which fosters greater change and stewardship,” said Rosanna Contreras, ASIC Chair.
Shrimp is one of America’s favorite seafoods with the majority of shrimp found in US markets imported from farms overseas. Roxanne Nanninga, Sustainability Director, Thai Union North America stated, “We are excited to be bringing the first ASIC shrimp to the US market. We plan to continue to grow and develop the farms taking part in this innovative program.”
True Food Kitchen, known for its health-driven menu items, prides itself on offering high quality, sustainably sourced ingredients.
As a growing business, flavor and consistency are paramount for True Food Kitchen. “ASIC shrimp checks all of the boxes for our priorities,” stated Taylor Domet, Director of Culinary Standards at True Food Kitchen.
In the coming year, ASIC plans to organize visits to their farms in Southeast Asia for engaged buyers and chefs to further educate on the importance of sourcing ingredients from responsible supply chains.
“The industry has been turning a blind eye to shrimp aquaculture for too long. ASIC is a groundbreaking initiative that is leading the way to revolutionize shrimp aquaculture and we’re thrilled to be a part of it,” Domet stated.
The Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative (ASIC) is a burgeoning regional collaboration among stakeholders from Southeast Asia who develop their own methods for improving aquaculture practices using existing regional standards in conjunction with key elements of the Seafood Watch aquaculture sustainability standard to build a graduated development plan. The program is the result of 4 years of work with over 10 stakeholder meetings that worked primarily with Asian stakeholders to define the standards for social and environmental improvement of the shrimp industry. The work has been supported by USAID, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Santa Monica Seafood.
ASIC addresses the unique impacts facing fishers, producers and processors in Asia. ASIC engages stakeholders throughout the Asian seafood industry production supply chain in respectful dialogue that considers the societal impact of fostering improvement. While international certification standards for fisheries and aquaculture as well as commitments by international seafood buyers to source responsible seafood already exist, ASIC is expanding the adoption of sustainability standards and incentives for both supplier and buyer. ASIC is committed to forging improvements for the Asian seafood industry that support local, regional and international economic growth, a healthy ocean and global food security. Visit www.asicollaborative.org for more information.
Source: The Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative (ASIC)