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China's first "smart-farming ship" achieves ASC certification

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has announced China’s first large yellow croaker (Larimichthys croceus) aquaculture ship, the Conson No. 1, achieved ASC certification in December 2022.

The Conson No. 1 is owned by Qingdao Conson Blue Silicon Valley Development Co. It is equipped with a number of digital management systems to control the environment and growing conditions onboard the vessel. As a result, the ship has been dubbed the world’s "first full-scale smart-farming ship,” according to ASC. It the capacity to produce 3,700 metric tons (MT) of large yellow croaker annually, and high-end retailer Olé has begun discussions to source and promote fish from the ship.

Large yellow croaker is popular in China, commonly eaten during celebratory meals and holidays. It is known as one of the country’s most-popular marine fish, with the country consuming approximately 180,000 MT annually. Due to its societal relevance to the local Chinese market, Conson No. 1 is prioritizing farming large yellow croaker over other species, Conson Group Deputy General Manager Dong Shaoguang said.

“Conson No. 1 simulates the wild growing environment of large yellow croaker in the cabin with industrial and intelligent technology to farm large yellow croaker in an artificial environment, with a focus on complying to ASC’s guidelines," Shaoguang said. "ASC certification of the large yellow croaker from the Conson No.1 aquaculture ship proves that the practices and objectives of China's aquaculture industry and market in the field of sustainable development are in line with the consensus direction of the international community. In the future, Conson Group will continue to work more closely with ASC on its aquaculture projects."

The certification is based on the ASC tropical marine finfish standard, which consists of more than 150 assessment indicators, including protection of ecosystems and biodiversity, antibiotic regulation, resource and energy efficiency, responsible feed sourcing, and community and social responsibilities.


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