Guolian Aquaculture becomes world’s first ASC certified crayfish breeding farm

To meet the requirements of the ASC standard, the company faced major technical challenges, for instance, in the selection of seeds and escape management.

June 27, 2023

Guolian (Yiyang) Crayfish Breeding Biotechnology Co., Ltd. recently became the first crayfish farm in the world to earn ASC certification for responsible seafood farming. Guolian’s ASC certified crayfish farm is located on the Guolian (Yiyang) Crayfish Breeding Scientific Research Base in the city of Yiyang in Hunan Province, China. The 850-hectare (2,100-acre) research base is an industry, academia and research collaboration between Guolian and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. The farm’s annual capacity is 2,000 tonnes of red swamp crawfish (Procambarus clarkii).

“We’re proud to be the first ASC certified crayfish farm in the world,” said Chen Han, president of Guolian Aquaculture Group. “ASC certification is an internationally renowned and highly recognized gold standard in the aquaculture industry. Obtaining it is a full validation of Guolian’s active efforts to transform and improve crayfish farming.”

“In order to achieve ASC certification, we changed our farming practices in several ways,” said Li Changbin, technical director of Guolian’s Crayfish Breeding Scientific Research Base. “To meet the requirements of the ASC standard, we faced major technical challenges, for instance, in the selection of seeds and with escape management. At the same time, we’ve met the other requirements for water quality, disease prevention and control, and feed.”

The Macrobrachium, Cherax, Procambarus, Astacus and Penaeus require traceability of seeds, to ensure those used on the farm come from high-quality stock. If the quality of seed crayfish is poor and the survival rate is too low, it cannot meet the ASC requirements. When the quality of seeds is good, the survival rate, spawning rate and hatching rate are high, which ensures that ecological resources for the farm have been utilized sustainably.

ASC certification also requires robust escape management practices. Although crayfish have been farmed in China for nearly 100 years, they are still an exotic species, and the unregulated growth of crayfish in the wild is strictly restricted by Chinese law.

Global markets for crayfish include the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and more, where demand for ASC certified responsibly farmed crayfish can now begin to be met.