Today the ASC launched its first standard into the market with the opening of its accreditation process for Tilapia. Certifiers can now apply to become accredited; when successfully concluded this will allow them to undertake the first farm assessments against the ASC Tilapia Standard. Accreditation is done by the independent accreditation body Accreditation Services International (ASI). It marks an important and essential milestone for the ASC to realise its ambition of having the first responsibly farmed ASC-certified seafood available on the market.
Chris Ninnes, CEO of ASC, was enthusiastic and upbeat about the launching of this phase of the organisation’s development: “Not only is this is a crucial moment in the countdown to our market launch of ASC-certified farmed seafood, it also represents a time to celebrate all the hard work that has been undertaken by so many supporters to develop and deliver the ASC Tilapia standard. Their dedicated engagement during the dialogue process has provided a robust and credible, globally-recognised standard. For some the conclusion of the dialogue did not mark the end of their endeavor. Their work continued, aided by a number of technical experts, as they turned the standard into an operational program that can be applied consistently worldwide by a cadre of trained auditors”.
Jose Villalon, Chair of the ASC’s Supervisory Board also highlighted the importance of having trained auditors: “Before certifiers can start their farm-based assessments they must have demonstrated their competence, integrity and ability to carry out credible audits in an independent and objective manner. This is in part realised through mandatory ASC auditor training, but also through the conformity assessment that is part of the accreditation process.”
Ninnes also noted that: “ASC’s use of third-party and independent accreditation and certification processes will underpin the long-term credibility of our standards and ultimately the effectiveness of our organisation to achieve its mission… [And] this effectiveness has its foundation in the organisation’s independent governance structure that actively seeks broad stakeholder engagement”.
Related documents such as the ASC Farm Certification and Accreditation Requirements, Tilapia Standard, Tilapia Audit Manual and Tilapia Pre-audit Checklist can be downloaded from: www.ascworldwide.org