Netherlands.- Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has finalised and launched the methodology for multi-site certification. The new procedure will allow companies to certify more than one farm at a time through a procedure specifically created to facilitate independent, third-party audits for multiple sites in an efficient yet rigorous manner.
Built on the ASC Certification and Accreditation Requirement (CAR v.2), multi-site methodology sets out additional requirements for both multi-site operators and conformity assessment bodies (CABs) to follow.
The methodology has now been incorporated into the latest version of the accreditation requirements, CAR v.2.1. The new methodology does not affect the audit process for single site certification, or impact single sites that are currently certified.
Multi-cite certification will be most useful for companies that own and run more than one aquaculture site subject to the same applicable laws and jurisdictional regulations. Companies that subcontract to larger farms and meet criteria for farm size, product ownership, and other factors may also be eligible for the methodology.
It is worth noting that even with this multisite certification methodology, each site certified through the multi-site methodology is required to comply with all relevant ASC standards individually through certification audits at each farm.
ASC standards were initially developed for single site certification. However, when developing the CAR, it became clear that a “one size fits all” method of certification may not be optimal for farms with multiple sites or for those species that come primarily from small scale producers, such as shrimp, tilapia, or bivalves. After years of learnings and investigations, ASC began developing a multi-site methodology once it had been determined that efficiencies could be gained for those farms without compromising the rigour of the programme.
The final methodology has gone through 2 public consultations in 2016 and 2017, and reflects valuable input from numerous and diverse stakeholder groups, including producers, environmental NGOs and certification and accreditation bodies.
The methodology is available today on the ASC website and will become operational in approximately three months. Additional materials, including a new version of the audit report template for multi-site certifications, will be on the website in the next 2 weeks. During the three-month interim, eligible organisations are invited to become familiar with the methodology and get prepared for certification.
ASC is also organizing a series of workshops — both in person and online — to train accredited CABs and ensure they obtain additional qualification to conduct multi-site certification. The first two of these full day training sessions will be held concurrently at VietFish in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam on 31 August 2017. One session is for producers, the other is for CABs.
You can learn more about the sessions, and sign up to attend, by contacting Maud van den Haspel at Maud.vandenHaspel@asc-aqua.org for the producer workshop or Vân Roetert at Van.Roetert@asc-aqua.org to attend the session for CABs.