Tag Archives: Indonesia

First ASC Certified Farmed Tilapia Now Available

Amsterdam, 20th of August 2012 – Today, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) celebrates the market launch of its global, independent trademark for responsibly farmed seafood. Tilapia from Indonesia is the first farmed fish to meet the ASC’s certification standard. This tilapia is recognised through the use of the on-pack ASC logo. The logo reinforces to consumers that the fish they purchased is responsibly farmed so that adverse environmental and social impacts are minimised. The Aquaculture Stewardship Council is an independent international initiative founded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH). Fish farming is the world’s fastest growing food production sector. By 2018, more seafood will be farmed than caught from the wild. Already, almost half of seafood found on grocer’s shelves comes from farms. Addressing the negative impacts of this important sector at this point is timely and necessary. ASC certified farms limit their impacts on the environment from the effects of water pollution, the use of chemicals and antibiotics, and escapes of farmed fish. They also adhere to guidelines that promote the social conditions of workers and local communities.

Reducing environmental impact

“The demand for protein-rich seafood is rapidly increasing,” says Johan van de Gronden, director of WWF in the Netherlands. “If we do nothing, there will be major environmental consequences. Some fish and shrimp farms in Asia have seriously affected valuable mangrove forests areas that serve as nurseries for the ocean and constitute natural coastal defences. Aquaculture can contribute to feeding the growing world population, but this must be done responsibly. The introduction of ASC certified tilapia today is just the first step. Soon, other products bearing the ASC logo will be available in stores and in restaurants. Together we can make responsibly farmed fish mainstream.”

Independent certification

As an independent organisation, the ASC manages the standards and the certification process. ASC does not certify the farms itself; this is done by independent certifiers. The method is similar to the familiar certification programmes for wild capture fisheries (MSC) and forestry (FSC). The ASC logo on the fish packaging will make clear that the fish has been responsibly farmed. “Today marks a turning point for all those that care about how the seafood they eat has been produced. The ASC logo guarantees that the fish farm respects both the environment and the people involved in its husbandry by minimising the farm’s impacts on its surroundings and by behaving in a socially responsible manner. Never before have such credible endorsements been available that are underpinned by the most robust and transparent certification programme available globally. Soon seafood buyers will be able to buy ASC certified salmon, shrimp, trout, pangasius, bivalve and abalone products knowing that their concerns are taken care of. It can’t get any simpler,” said Chris Ninnes, CEO of the ASC.

Aquaculture Stewardship Council Tilapia Certification

The first ASC tilapia from Indonesia

The now/first certified tilapia farm in Indonesia is one of the biggest in the world and is operated by Regal Springs. The farm uses large floating cages that have demonstrated their minimal impact on the natural environment. In cooperation with NGOs and scientists, Regal Springs monitors the water quality continuously. Furthermore, good social working conditions and care for the local community are important corporate values enshrined in its approach to corporate responsibility. See Indonesia tilapia farm video

ASC tilapia available in many countries

ASC certified tilapia will be available in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, France, Belgium, Spain and Canada. Albert Heijn, the largest fish retailer of the Netherlands, is one of the pioneers when it comes to sourcing its seafood and cooperates with WWF on its sourcing policies. Under its own brand, only sustainably caught or responsibly farmed fish will be sold by the end of 2015. In addition, tilapia sold by Queens using the ASC logo will be available in around 2,000 supermarket outlets. Dutch supermarket chains such as Jumbo and C1000 will also be offering ASC tilapia and seafood companies such as Mayonna in the Netherlands and TopSea, Costa and bofrost* in Germany are all supplying tilapia products carrying the ASC logo.

More tilapia farms in Honduras, Taiwan, Ecuador and Malaysia have all formally announced that they will be audited; and following a positive outcome, the supply of certified ASC products will substantially increase.

Other certified fish coming soon

Other seafood species will shortly also be ASC-certified. Pangasius products will be next and likely available early in the autumn of 2012. These products will be followed by certified clams, mussels,  scallops, oysters, abalone and salmon later in 2012. The standards for shrimp and trout will soon be finalised and the first farm audits may take place before the year end.


Tilly Sintnicolaas, ASC, T: +31 (0)70 385 18 02, E: tilly@bureausintnicolaas.nl
Sun Brage, ASC, T: +31 (0)30 230 56 92, E: sun.brage@asc-aqua.org

Tilapia: A Healthy Food Choice

Tilapia are hardy, fast growing, warm-water fish that are a popular choice for aquaculture. Tilapia are members of the Cichlid family that are native to freshwater in Africa and the Middle East. Tilapia production is booming worldwide, having increased from 1.6 metric tons in 1999 to 3.5 metric tons in 2008. China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand are the top five global producers of tilapia.

A decade ago, tilapia were relatively unknown in the United States, but they are gaining in popularity. Originally targeted for Asian and African ethnic populations, tilapia are now widely available to the general public in fish markets and supermarkets.

Tilapia is sold live, fresh, and frozen and in different product forms (whole, gutted, and fillets). Most tilapia consumed in in the U.S. is frozen product that comes from China and Taiwan. Central and South America are the prime source of imported fresh tilapia. Tilapia farming in the United States provides less than 10% of tilapia consumed domestically. In 2010 Americans ate 475 million pounds of tilapia, which ranks it as the number one consumed farmed fish in the U.S.

Because of their mild flavored, white-fleshed fillets, tilapia makes an ideal ingredient for many recipes. Tilapia are a good source of protein and a 3.5 oz. serving contains 28 grams of proteins. Tilapia is low in saturated fat, calories, carbohydrates and sodium. Tilapia also contains good amounts of other beneficial nutrients, including selenium, vitamin B12, niacin, phosphorous, and potassium.

Mercury is a toxic compound that is often concentrated in fish that are predators at the top of the food chain. Tilapia are oomnivorous and can eat many foods, including plants, animals, and algae. Due to their feeding habits, fast growth, and short lifespan, they contain very little mercury.

There is some concern about the cholesterol levels in tilapia. A 3.5 oz. serving of tilapia contains 57 mg of cholesterol, which is 19% of the daily recommended amount. Cholesterol is a naturally occurring steroid that is essential for maintaining body health. However, high levels of cholesterol, particularly “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL), can contribute to heart disease.

Many cold-water fish, such as salmon, trout, herring, and mackerel, contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. High levels of omega-3s contribute to healthy heart maintenance and can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.

A study released by the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in 2008, found that farm-raised tilapia contain low levels of beneficial omega-3s (less than half a gram per 3.5 oz. of fish, similar to flounder and swordfish), but relatively high levels of omega-6s. The researchers indicated that this combination of fatty acids could cause a detrimental inflammation response in individuals with heart disease, arthritis, asthma and other allergic and auto-immune diseases.

In response to this study, an open letter from 16 science and health experts from around the world confirmed that tilapia can indeed be considered part of a healthy diet. They emphasized that tilapia are relatively low in total and saturated fats and high in protein and essential trace nutrients. Tilapia provide more omega-3s than other meat alternatives like hamburger, steak, chicken, pork or turkey.

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times (two servings) a week. You can meet this requirement either by eating tilapia more often or in combination with other fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna. Given its nutritional benefits, tilapia is a good food choice for those interested in healthy eating.