Thursday, July 25, 2024

Caribbean Shrimp Company Awarded International Aquaculture Stewardship Council Certification

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The Caribbean Shrimp Company in Ladyville has passed several benchmarks and operational reviews to receive certification from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), an international organization that develops and manages the strictest standards in the aquaculture industry.
“This was a huge team effort, and I’m extremely proud of our staff for recognizing the importance of this certification and continuing to work to support its principles,” said Heather McIntosh, the company’s General Manager and second-generation Belizean-Canadian owner.
“We have been in business for more than 35 years as the oldest continuously-operating shrimp farm in the country. As we shift our business to focus on export, niche consumer, resort/retail markets and, now, agri-tourism, we recognize the key to our future is to meet and exceed international standards. This certification is designed to reinforce that process.”
As the shrimp industry rebounds nationally, McIntosh said she expects the certification and its ongoing best practice processes will be of significant interest to potential customers.
“Our products are available at our farm store, in our own restaurant, and in select retail stores nationally. Resorts and restaurants around the country are serving our shrimp to visitors from literally all over the world. People are very interested these days in where their food comes from, and how it is raised, and we have been doing many things on the ASC standards list for years — but are proud of the fact that our products have now achieved official ASC certification.”
McIntosh said the process took nearly two years, including interruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and involved both site visits from assessment teams and the submission of numerous documents to support the certification effort. There are also standards that must be continuously maintained in order to retain the certification, which is valid until 2025 and renewable thereafter.
These standards include hundreds of requirements covering the potential impacts of aquaculture – including water quality, responsible sourcing of feed, disease prevention, animal welfare, the fair treatment and pay of workers and maintaining positive relationships with neighbouring communities.
Funding for the certification process was provided to the Belize Shrimp Growers Association by Compete Caribbean and the MAR (Mesoamerican Reef) Fund.
Learn more about the Aquaculture Stewardship Council here: https://www.asc-aqua.org/what-we-do/about-us/about-the-asc/. See Caribbean Shrimp Co’s ASC Profile at https://www.asc-aqua.org/find-a-farm/ASC01893/.

Background Information

The Caribbean Shrimp Company Limited is the only aquaculture facility in Belize District and, since 1986, is the oldest continuously-operating shrimp farm in the country. The 266-acre farm is owned by Belizean-Canadian citizens and is in its second generation of family operation.
Each year, the farm produces more than 100,000 pounds of organically-grown shrimp for the local and export markets. At key periods, more than 30 people are employed on the farm property. Recent new product launches have included convenient one-pound family dinner packs in various tail sizes and price points, and peeled and deveined “Ceviche Ready” products. Expanding markets now serve the Cayes and customers in other districts through a network of wholesalers and retailers.
Additionally, the farm property houses a top-rated restaurant – Captain Hook’s Shrimp Restaurant, Bar and Pool – and is a unique agri-tourism destination, featuring farm tours and shrimp tastings, nature walks, birdwatching and a unique solar-powered boat tour through an old growth mangrove forest to the Caribbean sea.
A solar system provides most of the facility’s daytime power, with nearly 350 panels installed in four locations. Those provide up to 121 kWh per day at peak times, and produce an average 200,000 kWh per year.
As well as the recently-obtained Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification, the Caribbean Shrimp Company follows Naturland’s Standards for Organic Aquaculture and is presently working towards International Organic Certification, both as a farm producer and a food processor. Naturland is an association for organic agriculture, a private certification body and an organic farmers association based in the UK. Naturland is accredited to international norm ISO/IEC 17065.

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