By Kim Thanh Nguyen, ASC Trainer
I have worked in the seafood industry for almost 15 years in a variety of roles, including aquaculture auditing, factory quality assurance, fishery research and running a consultancy company, Kim Delta, based in Vietnam that provides training for the seafood industry in sustainability. The number of farms seeking ASC certification is steadily growing. However, for farms to become certified against the ASC standards, we need trained independent accredited auditors to carry out the assessments.
Last month, I was at auditor training workshops in Bangkok on ASC’s shrimp and tilapia standards. The training was delivered by Dr Kim Jauncey, who has worked within the research industry for many years and me, an ASC lead auditor.
Only accredited certification bodies are allowed to conduct ASC farm audits. And, successful completion of the ASC shrimp and tilapia training is a prerequisite for auditors who wish to assess farms against those standards.
The people taking part in the training in Bangkok came from a range of countries and backgrounds, including conformity assessment bodies (CABs); an NGO; a farmer association; and Accreditation Services International (ASI), which is the independent accreditation body for ASC certifiers. This diversity brought a range of legislative frameworks from different regions into the discussion (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Australia and Belize). And, what followed was a fertile conversation bringing observations about the implementation of ASC’s standards from different perspectives across the industry and countries.
“The diversity brought a range of legislative frameworks from different regions into the discussion …what followed was a fertile conversation bringing observations about the implementation of ASC’s standards from different perspectives across the industry and countries.”
As the training progressed each standard and its requirements were discussed in detail to ensure they were properly understood. Also, the attendees were offered guidance about what evidence or action is required during assessments followed by the opportunity to raise questions or discuss any queries.
The hotel ‘Renaissance’ hosted the training courses. Of course, we were interested to know how and where it sourced its seafood. We were pleased to find out that its seafood is sourced responsibly and it had engaged with WWF Thailand to source ASC certified seafood. This prompted discussion between Kim Jauncey, the participant from WWF Thailand and me about the challenges for small producers in Thailand in implementing ASC requirements.
The course not only gave participants the opportunity to learn about the material and details of the standards but also to discuss and share experiences and ideas with others across the industry. Discussions carried on late into the evening as we enjoyed local restaurants serving traditional Thai dishes, with delicious beer and live music.
Now a further 12 auditors are ready to carry out audits on farms seeking ASC certification.
Picture 1: Ms Kim Thanh Nguyen and Dr Kim Jauncey who led the training
Picture 2: The training participants, consisting of representatives across the industry