A stairway to MSC – Understand the new ASC feed standard


Producers of fish feed who wish to be certified by the Aquaculture feed standard (ASC) must prove that their marine ingredients – fishmeal and fish oil – are sourced from sustainably managed stocks.

As of September 1st 2022, when the new feed standard is implemented, feed producers are required to segment every tonnage of marine ingredients in levels based on the degree of sustainability. The levels system is built as a stairway beginning at level 0 (due diligence) end ending at level 4 (MSC certification). The amount of marine ingredients in each level are then used to determine the “overall sustainability score” of the feed mill by reviewing the relative quantities of marine ingredients of each level.

If, for example, a feed mill has purchased 500 mt of marine ingredients at level 4, 200 mt at level 2 and 400 mt at level 1, then the feed mills overall sustainability score will be 2, because the total quantity of marine ingredients at level 1 + level is more than half the total amount. Had the feed mill instead bought an additional 100 mt of marine ingredients at level 4, the overall sustainability score would climb two levels to level 4.

In this new version of the feed standard, there are also specific requirements for plant-based ingredients, which is an important step in achieving sustainability in all ingredient sectors. Production of plant based ingredients such as soy and palm oil have a high impact on natural resources and should be just as strictly monitored and certified as has been the case for marine ingredients for a number of years now.

For the fisheries, the relative amount of MSC-certified marine ingredients plays a big part in granting of the ASC label to the end products, and the new feed standard will likely serve the function of applying pressure throughout the supply chain.

Supply chain

Following the recent release of the feed standard, there will now be a public consultation of the standard and the ASC have encouraged all feed mills and their suppliers to review the standard.

You can find the new feed standard here.


Blue whiting in Greenland waters


The PhD thesis “Blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou): behaviour and distribution in Greenland waters” has been written by PhD student Søren Post, DTU Aqua and he will defend his thesis on 28 June at 13:00 at DTU Aqua.

To read a popular science summary of the PhD thesis click here

Blue whiting is a widely distributed and highly abundant fish species in the North-Atlantic. Despite that the commercial fishery is one of the largest in the world, this deep living (200-600 m) species is little known to the public. The stock size has fluctuated greatly throughout the latest decades, affecting both fishery, management, and the advising procedure. The seas around Greenland are generally considered as fringe areas of blue whiting distribution and it is only caught sporadically here. With increasing ocean temperatures due to climate change, blue whiting may become more abundant and widespread in Greenland waters and could potentially be an additional target species for the growing pelagic fleet in Greenland. However, the necessary knowledge about the biology and the dynamics of the stock size in this region is lacking.

For more information – click here – or contact the EFFOP secretariat.

The PhD defense starts at 13:00 on 28 June and it can be followed in Zoom via the link below (no need to register just click the link from 12:50 on 28 June):

Towards more sustainable fishing in the EU: state of play and orientations for 2022


The Communication from the European Commission reports on the progress made towards sustainable fishing in the EU and reviews the balance between fishing capacity and fishing opportunities, the sector’s socio-economic performance and the landing obligation implementation. It then presents the main orientations that will shape the Commission’s proposals and consultations with third countries on fishing opportunities for 2022.

The 2021 Communication shows that in the North-East Atlantic especially, sustainability was almost reached for the stocks managed under the principle of maximum sustainable yield (MSY) – the maximum amount of fish that fishers can take out of the sea without compromising the regeneration and future productivity of the stock.

Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, responsible for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, said:

“EU fisheries remain on course towards a still more sustainable use of the sea. And while the pandemic hit our fishing communities hard, it was confirmed that environmental sustainability is the key to economic resilience. The situation in some sea basins requires our particular attention, but also across all our sea basins more must be done to deliver the blue in the Green Deal. I count on everybody to play their full part”.

The report can be found in all EU languages here.

Feed Sustainability Charter, FEFAC