Unlocking Value in Seafood Supply Chains to Connect to New Markets
The Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative (ASIC) is a burgeoning regional collaboration between private sector stakeholders from Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam who have come together to tackle environmental, social, and traceability challenges facing the Asian seafood industry. ASIC stakeholders, who represent various elements of the Asian seafood industry including producer organizations, processors, environmental non-government organizations, and local certification bodies, work in conjunction with export market stakeholders, including NGOs, buyers, and certification bodies, to build innovative tools designed to foster improvement for both shrimp aquaculture and fisheries in the region. By supporting stakeholders to build their own tools that are in line with or coupled to international standards, they are more likely to use these tools and seek to promote them within their respective communities.
ASIC has a unique approach to improvement in the following ways:
• It was developed by stakeholders who are most affected by the increasing number of buyer sustainability commitments so that the challenges they face locally are accounted for in its development. By directly working with stakeholders, ASIC is fostering is a “home-grown” effect that will lead to greater uptake and compliance.
• ASIC improvement standards aim to incentivize better performance and subsequently reward producers for achieving them. For example, the ASIC Shrimp tool has two levels of performance (Level 1 and Level 2), which are equivalent to Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch®️ “Good Alternative” and “Best Choice” recommendations, respectfully.
• ASIC is seeking to set up partnerships between buyers and supply chain actors in ways that foster understanding, equity, and proper incentives to drive improvement in the supply chain and celebrate the stories of improvement.
One of the tools ASIC has created is a tiered improvement protocol for shrimp aquaculture (ASIC Shrimp). This tool was developed via an open and transparent process that involved stakeholders from all over the Southeast Asian region and are now being used in multiple shrimp aquaculture improvement projects in the region including with processors in Vietnam and Indonesia who have been working to sell the product to US buyers interested in quality and story. This panel will explore this project as well more about the origin of ASIC, it’s current status, and future plans.