A New Market-Based Tool for Conservation: Improving Aquaculture through ASC Certification


Oura  transboundary   complex  between  Cameroon  and Chad. Ministers asked to include the Central African Republic in  the  accord,  subject  to  follow-up tripartite meetings in Ndjamena in September and November 2012 in which an agreement on  anti-poaching  transboundary collaboration  was prepared.  In  June  2012 the  ministers in  charge  of  wildlife of  the  COMIFAC member  states also  adopted  the  Central  African  Wildlife Trade  Law Enforcement   Action   Plan   (CAWTLEAP,  2012–2017). News as at February 2013 is that, recognizing the increasingly  military  character  of  effective  anti-poaching,  the dialogue amongst the three ministers in charge of wildlife is to be widened to include their colleagues in charge of defence. Important  first steps have been taken with this long- awaited tri-national dialogue and signing of CAWTLEAP but  more  is needed. The  dramatic  increase in  elephant poaching has been triggered by the rapidly increasing demand  for  ivory  in  China,  Thailand  and  other  East Asian countries. Regional and  intercontinental  dialogue, including ivory consumer and transit countries, was called for by a platform  meeting organized jointly by the  US Embassy and  the  Governments  of  Gabon  and  Central African Republic in Libreville in April 2012. The greatest challenge now is to translate these dialogues into concrete collaboration. This may be boosted by treating the illegal international   wildlife trade  as  a  crime  that  mobilizes action beyond ministries in charge of wildlife protection. As called for by CAWTLEAP, national units to combat wildlife crime are being established, comprising law enforcement agencies (Defence, Justice, Customs, Police, Wildlife, Interior and Exterior) and assisted by technical partners  such as INTERPOL, conservation organizations and  diplomatic  missions. These  units  are  being tasked to  bundle  resources  and  intelligence systems to  track, arrest and prosecute wildlife criminals to the full extent of the law.

This attention  to  large-scale transboundary  poaching should  not,  however, divert  attention  from  increasingly commercial small-scale poaching operations, with impli- cation  of  powerful elites, for  which  collaboration  with local communities should, whenever possible, be reinforced.

Only  reacting to  these different  types of poaching  will

ensure  that  elephants  and  other  wildlife do  not  follow

the  same  fate  as  the  western  black  rhino,  extinct  a decade ago.


PAUL SCHOLTE GIZ—COMIFAC support programme, Yaounde, Cameroon. E-mail [email protected]giz.de


CHOUAIBOU NCHOUTPOUEN Executive Secretariat COMIFAC, Yaounde, Cameroon




A new  market-based tool for conservation:

improving aquaculture through ASC certification


Almost half of all seafood comes from aquaculture farms and by 2018 more seafood will be farmed than caught from the wild. Reconciling food security with the protection of aquatic and  marine  ecosystems is a major  conservation challenge. Solutions need to address both the demand of an increasing global population as well as the market forces that supply that demand.

In August 2012 the first seafood bearing the Aquaculture

Stewardship Council’s  (ASC) ‘responsibly  farmed’  logo

entered the market place. The ASC logo is complimentary to the  Marine  Stewardship Council’s  label for sustainably-

caught  wild fish. The  ASC represents  the  latest  major

certification initiated by WWF’s  Markets Transformation

Initiative, which uses market forces for conservation ben- efits   across   commodities,   including   forests   (Forest

Stewardship Council), soya (the Roundtable for Respon- sible Soy), sugar (Bonsucro), cotton (Better Cotton), palm oil (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) and freshwater (Alliance for Water Stewardship).

The ASC logo encompasses a series of standards  for major  farmed  species and  was  developed  through  an international, multi-stakeholder process involving c. 2,000 experts globally over 8 years. As with other environmental certification schemes of this magnitude, a commitment to ongoing development and improvement of the standards

is critical. The ASC standards contain performance indicators (metrics) designed to improve the viability of threatened and protected species, essential habitat, fresh- water quantity  and  quality, carbon  and  greenhouse gas emissions, and  the  management  of  wild  fisheries and terrestrial crops used in feed. These measures, as well as social considerations, are formally assessed by teams of independent  experts, led by accredited auditors with the technical background to evaluate impacts. Producers are required   by  the  team  to  improve  practices  to  meet conditions   for  certification.  Auditor   manuals   contain specific instructions  and  methods  with  actionable  and measurable steps for producers to implement best practices.

Standards  also have meaningful  data-reporting  require- ments that will increase global knowledge of aquaculture, and some standards ask producers to initiate area-based management   plans   to   address   cumulative   impacts. Increased market access, profits and indirect benefits (e.g. public  recognition,  funding,  increased  harmony   with

surrounding communities) are all powerful incentives for those interested in demonstrating commitment to respon- sible production. At  present,  ASC-labelled Tilapia  and  Pangasius  are available to consumers, with further categories that include salmon, bivalves, abalone, freshwater trout, shrimp, Seriola and cobia to emerge over the next year. In the past 3 months




© 2013 Fauna & Flora International,  Oryx, 47(2), 169–172 172          Conservation  news




leading producers have partnered  with auditors in inde- pendent certification bodies to field test the standards for

salmon, bivalves and abalone, which will move into full use shortly.

Researchers, NGO staff and others should be aware that

transparency and stakeholder participation is an integral

part  of the ASC process. There will be opportunities  to influence  environmental  and  social  change  in  regions

throughout  the world by engaging in  ASC assessments. The name and location of farms undertaking assessment will be posted on the ASC website (http://www.asc-aqua. org) 1 month prior to on-site audits, along with the names of proposed team members. Those interested in contributing to  assessments for  particular  farms  should  contact  the

certification  body  responsible  for  a  given  assessment

directly. Comments or concerns (including team compo-

sition) raised by members of both the public and private sectors will be incorporated into decisions made by assessment teams and audit reports will be publicly available via the ASC website.


SIÂN MORGAN and SABINE DAUME Scientific Certification Systems,

2000 Powell Street, Emeryville, California 95061, USA. E-mail [email protected]fied.com


HANK CAULEY Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Seattle, Washington, USA


CHRIS NINNES Aquaculture Stewardship Council, Utrecht, Netherlands


JOSE VILLALON  Nutreco, Amersfoort, Netherlands


American Association of Zoo Keepers: bowling for rhinos


When  black rhino  Diceros biconrnis populations  plum- meted  in  the  1980s because  of  poaching,  zoo  keepers throughout North America took action to raise funds for conservation of the species: thus the Bowling For Rhinos fund-raiser began. At the same time as they spread the word about the plight of the black rhino, zoo keepers organized annual fund-raisers to secure money from the public to con- serve rhinos in the wild. Since 1990 the American Association of Zoo keepers (AAZK) has sponsored Bowling For Rhinos, which has now raised over USD 4.3 million for conservation. Over 70 AAZK chapters participate throughout the USA and Canada, raising more than USD 300,000 annually. The funds are sent through Lewa USA, the International Rhino Foun- dation, and Action for Cheetahs in Kenya. The Association is currently developing a new campaign, in Australia. The funds raised by Bowling For Rhinos supports Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (formerly Ngare Sergoi rhino  sanctuary) in Kenya, Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia, Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park and Way Kambas in Sumatra, and Manas National Park in India. As well as contributing to

saving all five rhino species, the funding helps secure organ-

isms ranging in size from orchids to elephants. Conservation

of rhino habitat is also helping to conserve the Endangered Grevy’s zebra and the Critically Endangered hirola. The Bowling For Rhinos fund-raiser is now preparing for its 24th year. The programme is run entirely by volunteers, enabling

100% of all donations to go directly to conservation in the

field. For more information please see http://aazkbfr.org


PATTY PEARTHREE American Association of Zoo Keepers— Bowling For Rhinos, 318 Montibello Drive, Cary, NC 27513, USA. E-mail ppea[email protected]

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