As of July 14, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) released revised Certification and Accreditation Requirements (CAR) and Certification Requirements for Unit of Certification (RUoC) for ASC Farm Standards, as well as new CAR and RUoC documents for the Feed Standard. These four documents are crucial in helping ASC to operationalise standards and define processes necessary to audit against them.
 

New RUoC documents provide farms and feed mills belonging to the ASC certification programme with a description and step-by-step guide to conform to administrative and process requirements which are necessary to obtain or maintain certification. It also acts as a guide for certified farms and feed mills who want to make a claim about or use the ASC logo and trademarks.
 

Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) will be using the CAR, which sets out requirements for certification to enable CABs to audit farms and feed mills. CABs are independent certification bodies that audit farms and feed mills against ASC standards which allows farms and feed mills to sell their product and seafood products as ASC compliant and ASC certified.
 

"The aim of the documents is to provide transparency and consistency to the certification process," explains Efrain Calderon, Programme Assurance Director at ASC. "So the ASC standard system maintains its credibility with stakeholders, which include governments, regulatory bodies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and consumers."
 

"All of ASC's certification and accreditation requirements are in full compliance with the FAO Technical Guidelines on Aquaculture Certification and our operations conform to the codes of good practice of ISEAL, of which we are a member. The codes of good practice support sustainability systems, to improve how they operate and deliver greater impact," he adds.
 

The revised CAR sets out strict protocols for conducting remote audits which includes a requirement to conduct unannounced surveillance audits on at least 10 percent of single site certificate holders every year. A new requirement ensures auditors are rotated to limit the number of times they can audit the same unit of certification.
 

It reinforces to CABs that companies carrying out fraudulent activities and those involved in child labour, slavery, human trafficking or forced labour are not allowed to hold ASC certification.
 

The Feed Standard, which was released in June 2021, has enabled auditors, feed manufacturers and suppliers to familiarise themselves in preparation for certification. The new standards are structured to follow the certification process of a feed mill from initial application, through the audit process to the final decision.

During the development process of the Feed CAR and RUoC, five pilot audits were undertaken with the focus being to assess the CAR and RUoC and their application in the feed mill environment. Feed mills involved varied in size and geographical location, focusing on small to medium facilities.

 

Following on from the release of the ASC Feed CAR and RuOC, a six month implementation for these new requirements is provided to allow CABs to gain accreditation. They will become effective from January 14, 2023. During this time, ASC farms must switch to using ASC compliant feed in order to continue meeting the farm standards.

For more information on the ASC visit their website, HERE.

 

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