The Audit Manual for the ASC Freshwater Trout Standard was recently approved following pilot audits and a review by ASC’s Technical Advisory Group.
The audit manual provides clear guidance for both farmers and their certifiers on the implementation and assessment of the ASC Freshwater Trout Standard’s requirements. As well as guide auditors in carrying out assessments, this manual will help farms to prepare for an audit and show compliance against the requirements in the standard.
Auditors trained on ASC standard for trout
A group of auditors is now able to assess farms against the ASC Freshwater Trout Standard following ASC training. The first training was held in Copenhagen (Denmark) last October. For 2014 an additional training has been scheduled in Stirling (UK) in June 2014. “When offering a new standard to the market, it is important that auditors have a good understanding of its content and intent, this safeguards credible and consistent auditing.
“At the end of our multiple days’ trainings all participants have to pass a test. This is important in providing us with an insight into the level of understanding of our standards and its implementation by each individual auditor.
“I am happy that the first auditors successfully completed our training and are ready to carry out the initial audits. Very exciting!” said ASC Standards Director Bas Geerts.
The first four trout farm audits against the ASC standard will take place in Denmark at the end of March.
Each ASC Standard has species specific requirements, aimed at reducing the impact of farming that species. Auditors therefore need to be trained on each standard. The training covers all aspects of the assessment process. At the same time, Geerts considers that “it is a good way for the ASC to get valuable feedback from auditing professionals on our standards and processes. This is put on record to further improve the ASC programme in the future.”
Successful completion of the auditor training, including passing an exam, is a mandatory requirement of the ASC accreditation process
ASC has a fully transparent certification process. The announcement of a farm audit needs to be publicly visible for at least 30 days prior to the actual on-site audit. Once the farm has been assessed by an accredited auditor, a draft farm audit report is produced and sent to the ASC.
Draft reports are posted for a minimum of 10 working days on ASC’s website. During this comments’ period, objections can be raised with the certifier, which must be considered by the certifier in an updated version of the audit report. The certification decision is based on the information in the final report. All final audit reports are published on the ASC website for everyone to see.