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Ecuador

SONGA Certifies More Farms Through ASC

   
     Rodrigo Laniado Illingworth/SONGA and Guillermo Godiño Correa/ASC  

 

During Seafood Expo Global (Brusselss, April 2017), Sociedad Nacional Galapagos (SONGA), the first shrimp farm in Ecuador, received Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification for its Bonanza and Roblemar farms, bringing its number of ASC certified farms up to seven, while two more farms are currently under ASC assessment.  Established in 1968, SONGA is one of Ecuador’s largest shrimp farms, processors and exporters.

 

Rodrigo Laniado, CEO of SONGA, said his company chose ASC certification because the ASC logo helps us distinguish ourselves from the other companies in the market.  However, obtaining ASC certification is certainly not an easy thing to do.  It takes time, investments, training of all the employees, as well as improving the relationship with the local communities.  We have always been producing shrimp with great care for the environment, so we didn’t need to make major changes to achieve ASC certification.  However, we did improve the way we manage our employees and farmers and the relationship with the communities who live around the farms.

 

Farmers are the core and value of the aquaculture industries.  Farmers are the ones who feed the animals, take care of equipment and ponds and make sure that everything works fine.  It is like a kitchen: you can have a great chef, but if the raw materials are not cooked properly, the dish will not be good.  We decided to go beyond certification.  As part of creating a feedback process for the employees and the surrounding communities, we established specific social programs for our farm workers such as on-site doctors who can provide assistance in case workers face delays getting medical appointments through the state, as well as a bonus system, and opportunities to get loans to improve living conditions, or finance their children’s education.

 

ASC certification is changing the way we operate, think and process.  The sustainability concept has to be integrated within the whole company, from the top management to every employee in the organization.  However, once you are awarded the certificate, it rewards your efforts.  Responsible consumers choose to buy our products because they care about the environment and the people we work with as much as we do.

 

We have been able to make new customers in Europe and China who would not have bought from us if we had not achieved the high environmental and social requirements necessitated by the ASC.  I look forward to the growth of the program and to being able to provide more ASC certified SONGA products to more and more markets in the world.

 

Information: Rodrigo Laniado, Sociedad Nacional Galapagos, Av. Las Esclusas Km. 3.5 Via Hcda. La Josefina, Guayaquil, Ecuador (Phone 593-4-259-1250, Fax 593-4- 259-1256, Emails exports@songa.com and ventas@songa.com, Webpage http://www.songa.com/contacto.php).

 

Information: Aquaculture Stewardship Council, HNK Utrecht Centraal Station, Arthur van Schendelstraat, 650 3511 MJ Utrecht, The Netherlands (Phone +31-30-239-3110, Email info@asc-aqua.org, Webpage http://www.asc-aqua.org).

 

Source: Aquaculture Certification Council Webpage.  ASC Meets Sociedad Nacional Galapagos.  May 29, 2017.