Today is World Oceans Day – a day for celebrating our oceans and for raising awareness around the many solutions that exist for supporting healthy oceans. The Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative (ASIC) is a growing regional collaboration between private sector stakeholders from Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam who are working together to tackle sustainability 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 NGO's, 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 aligned with international standards, they are more likely to use these tools while promoting them within their respective communities.
Built in Asia by Asian stakeholders, ASIC represents one of the first efforts to create an organization that gives producers a real voice and fosters improvement. To date, ASIC has created two major tools with stakeholders including improvement protocols for both shrimp aquaculture (ASIC shrimp) and fisheries (ASIC fish). These tools have been developed via an open and transparent process that involved stakeholders from all over the Asian region.
ASIC has a unique approach to improvements in three key ways:
First, it was developed by those who are most affected by it so that their realities are accounted for in its development and there is a certain home-grown effect that matters for the stakeholders who are attempting to use it.
Second, ASIC tools seek to incentivize producers to perform better and ideally reward them for doing so. For example, the ASIC shrimp tool has two levels of performance (Level 1 and Level 2) which are equivalent to a Seafood Watch Good Alternative and Best Choice respectfully.
Third, 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 along with celebrating the stories that go along with the improvements.
We hope you will join us this World Oceans Day to celebrate the efforts of ASIC and some of our achievements to date:
- This stakeholder voice is critical in the conversation about how we make change in seafood supply chains as it becomes a key part of how you maintain buy in and understanding for long term change;
- As of May 2018, ASIC now has an 8-member executive committee that will be chaired by Mrs. Rosanna Contreras from the Philippines who will help ASIC move forward on its mission to enable stakeholder voice for change;
- ASIC product have now been in the US Market since March 2018;
- ASIC is now forming partnerships with groups like Oxfam to explore how to enable small farmers to enter the supply chain and to use this opportunity to integrate work on Womens’ Economic Empowerment work on aquaculture supply chains in Vietnam and Indonesia.