The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has prepared the draft audit manual for the seriola and cobia standard ready for pilot testing from early next year.
The pilot tests will enable ASC to field-test the audit manual for seriola and cobia and allow the pilot farms to measure their operations against the standard.
Feedback from the pilot audits will be used to further improve the audit manual before it is finalised and approved. The pilots will take place in January and February next year and the audit manual is likely to be ready for general use by April 2016.
Bas Geerts, ASC Standards Director, said: “I’m delighted to see this audit manual for our latest standard materialising and I am pleased to announce that we are now ready for pilot testing. I would like to thank representatives of the Seriola Cobia Aquaculture Dialogue and the ASC team for their hard work on this project and we look forward to testing this out in a live environment.”
Reducing environmental and social impacts
The ASC Seriola and Cobia Standard was handed over to the ASC in February 2015. The standard aims to address the key negative environmental and social impacts of seriola and cobia farming, including preservation of local habitats and biodiversity, conservation of water and quality, responsible sourcing of feed ingredients, minimal use of therapeutics and antibiotics, caring for their employees and fostering good community relations.
Cobia is produced in many parts of Asia and off the coast of the United States, Mexico and Panama. Seriola is mainly produced in the Republic of Korea and Japan.
Third party accreditation
ASC does not audit or certify farms itself; this is done by independent certifiers. The final version of the audit manual will guide certifiers and farmers in how the Seriola and Cobia Standard should be applied.
The certifiers have to undergo a rigorous process of accreditation by a company that is independent of ASC, Accreditation Services International (ASI). ASI also monitors the performance of accredited certifiers.
Before certifiers can assess farms against the Seriola and Cobia Standard they will also undergo training in the application of the standard and will need to pass a mandatory exam to demonstrate their full understanding of and competence in the application of the standard.
The full terms of reference for the pilot testing of the draft seriola and cobia audit manual is available on the ASC website.