ASC has teamed up with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) and Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch on a project that will enhance integration between certification and ratings schemes. The project, Integration of seafood certification and jurisdictional assurance models, is funded by an ISEAL Innovations Fund grant supported by State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Recently we published part one of a blog by ASC’s Jill Swasey and SFP’s Paul Bulcock about some of the things they’ve learned so far. Read on for part two…

Data sharing isn’t and shouldn’t be a one-way street

Our previous blog suggested that data sharing under this project was a one-way street with SFP and Seafood Watch receiving information from ASC farm audits and offering nothing in return. For data sharing to be sustainable, it should be reciprocal and benefit all the organizations involved. Therefore, the second part of the data sharing project focused on using indicators from SFP’s FishSource Aquaculture profiles and their five principle scores, and Seafood Watch reports and their individual criteria scores to support ASC’s data needs.

Although this information does not feed directly into ASC farm-level audits, there is clear value in these data that may apply to ASC assurance tools. In one example, data from these assessment reports could be used as third-party risk indicators to inform development of ASC’s Improvement Program Risk Calculator – see below. Information from SFP and Seafood Watch has already been passed to ASC; however, this information transfer still requires automation to match the utility provided by the Sharepoint link.

Introducing the ASC Improvement Programme Risk Calculator

The ASC Improvement Programme Risk Calculator helps ASC trained ‘verifiers’ evaluate initial ‘self-assessments´ as well as the progress of improvement plans, both of which are core management requirements of the ASC Improver Programme.

The calculator rewards improved performance by adjusting the intensity of remote and on-site verification requirements based on a range of group-specific and external risk indicators.

Group-specific or ‘internal’ indicators include the number of sites, size and spatial distribution, data management, sales characteristics, as well as their history of social/environmental deficiencies and associated corrective actions.

External indicators are based on:

  • wider national sectoral assessments of certified farms against ASC standard requirements*
  • ‘third-party’ indicators including the six World Governance Indicators (WGI) and SFP and Seafood Watch scores at country-species level.

All farms identified as high risk based on the above criteria will be subject to more intensive verification measures. But other farms can also be subject to these more intensive measures at random, based on a probabilistic sampling element.

Key findings to date

Although the data sharing process is still in its infancy, the initiative has met with early successes. One of the most immediate was the use of farm-level production data to inform SFP’s annual Target 75 analysis – where information provided by ASC was combined with information from other certifications to determine the total volume of certified seafood under various aquaculture sectors and countries.

Meanwhile, information from the Sharepoint portal has contributed toward forthcoming updates of the FishSource Aquaculture profiles for major shrimp producing provinces in Thailand. It quickly became apparent that although ASC certified production in Thailand was limited, audit information was able to move the dial slightly on some of the five principle FishSource Aquaculture scores.

From this, we can see that ASC information will have a greater impact on assessments for industries with a relatively high percentage of certified production. The next steps involve using this information to inform assessments of major shrimp producing provinces in India and Vietnam.

A strong foundation

As you can see, the data sharing is a work in progress, but it has already yielded positive results laying the groundwork to support greater use of public data between the three organizations.

Just as importantly, it also strengthens the relationship between these three organizations – a relationship that can be built upon in to innovate and support each other’s programmes and data needs in the future.

* Based on an analysis of non-conformance data documented in farm audits available from the ASC’s Find a Farm service.

Published on
Friday, 25 February 2022
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