Sponsor content from The Sustainable Shrimp Partnership

SSP charts next phase of farmed shrimp crusade

Sustainable Shrimp Partnership poised to pursue expansion following launch of premium products that are ASC-certified, antibiotic-free, fully traceable and have a neutral impact on local water systems.

Sponsor content from The Sustainable Shrimp Partnership
Written by
NHST Global Publications in collaboration with the Sustainable Shrimp Partnership
March 15, 2019

Americans eat a lot of shrimp. As the most widely consumed seafood in the US, restaurants and retailers keep their freezers well stocked with the crustacean.

That said, for most American consumers, responsibly produced shrimp is tough to find.

This may change in the near future, however, thanks to organizations like the Sustainable Shrimp Partnership (SSP), which is now offering premium farmed shrimp to the US market, among others, after finalizing its methodology for product verification and qualifying the first SSP farms in Ecuador.

Pamela Nath

Nath will be fielding queries about SSP-approved products during Seafood Expo North America in Boston.

The first batch of SSP-approved shrimp—which is Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified, farmed without the use of antibiotics with a neutral impact on local water systems and fully traceable—weighs in at 1,000 metric tons and will hit shelves later this month, with more to follow, according to SSP director Pamela Nath.

In a statement, Nath noted that offering consumers access to clean, natural products that meet the highest sustainability standards has been central to SSP’s mission since its inception in 2018.

“Since SSP’s launch last year, we have taken the time needed to get our processes clearly defined and measurable, so that consumers can be completely confident that SSP products live up to the highest expectations,” she said.

“It is our mission to improve consumer choice for healthy and sustainable seafood, and today marks a major milestone for the industry with the release of a high-quality product which is not only ASC-certified, but also produced without the use of antibiotics.”

A taste of what's to come

SSP has been working with the Colombian Institute of Technical Standards and Certification (ICONTEC) to develop the criteria to validate SSP's protocols for zero use of antibiotics, full traceability and neutral impact on the local environment through a water quality measure.

354356515640526d8f394d5b7d6ae4de WARM RECEPTION: Nath says conversations with prospective buyers of SSP shrimp have already commenced. Photo: Margarita Vidal

SSP announced that the first batch of shrimp to complete this process received its stamp of approval today, in advance of Seafood Expo North America 2019, which convenes in Boston this weekend.

“This is just our first batch of approved product, but we expect to see increasing volumes of SSP shrimp in the coming months,” Nath continued.

“We are already in dialogue with multiple partners in the marketplace who are looking for premium products which meet the growing consumer demand, for clean, safe, and sustainable seafood.”

Shrimp farmed by people who care, for people who care

Today, 11 farms are qualified to produce SSP-approved shrimp. All are in Ecuador and are operated by some of the organizaton’s founding members: Songa, Santa Priscila, Naturisa, Omarsa and Produmar.

SSP Qualified Farms

José Antonio Camposano, executive president of the National Chamber of Aquaculture of Ecuador, praised today’s development in a statement.

Jose Antonio Camposano

Camposano, the driving force behind the SSP, heads Ecuador's National Chamber of Aquaculture (CNA), which believes domestic shrimp production will increase by as much as 10% in 2019.

“SSP-qualified shrimp is tangible proof that aquaculture is possible without the use of antibiotics at all,” he said.

“Ecuador is already known and respected for producing high-quality shrimp under the highest sanitary standards, and in providing reliable information that can be traced back to hatchery level. Leading an initiative like SSP, which is a reality today, is a step forward moving away from the commoditized low-value generic shrimp market.”

Aaron McNevin, the head of aquaculture at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), applauded SSP for challenging what he described as the “status quo” with “ambitions to demonstrate traceability that can be trusted and product testing to ensure no antibiotics”.

“This is a much more substantive approach to validation than what we typically see,” McNevin concluded. “The burden is now high and on the shrimp sector in Ecuador to show progress towards these targets.”

Agents of change

Going forward, Nath says SSP is keen to forge more collaborative partnerships both at home and abroad. In the coming months, it also intends to work with more small and mid-sized farms.

0431a48391f6867a22387c57af2f8d91 GROWING THE FUTURE: SSP launched its farm improvement program in October 2018. Photo: Xavier Romero

Initially, the goal is to funnel up to 20 farms into the SSP Scale Up Programme, which defines and facilitates a trajectory for any producer that wishes to improve their sustainability performance while working towards the achievement of SSP’s product qualification criteria.

“By including more farms and regions into the SSP program we hope the raise the performance of the sector as a whole,” she said.

Guidance and support is provided by the SSP advisory board, which includes the IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative, WWF and ASC.

Next stop: Boston

SSP is exhibiting at Seafood Expo North America 2019 in Boston. Stop by booth #817 to learn more about the limited offer of 1,000 metric tons of SSP shrimp, which will be available for purchase at the show.

You can meet with SSP members at the same event by visiting booth #633 or contacting Pamela Nath via email to arrange a meeting.

This article was produced by the content marketing team at NHST Global Publications, the publisher of IntraFish, on behalf of an advertiser.