As part of ASC’s drive to improve transparency and accountability, from today (5 February) ASC certified farms will be required to provide additional geospatial data as part of annual (surveillance) audits.
The change, which has been communicated to farms and auditors via webinars and email, will enable ASC to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to improve systematically analysing compliance with standards, monitor changes over time, and assist auditors. In line with ASC’s commitment to transparency, the data will also be publicly available once legal agreements are in order.
Although all farms must already provide the coordinates of their location, this does not always provide precise information about the size, shape, and exact location of their operation. Today’s change will enable this more precise data to be simply uploaded by farms using a specially designed app.
“At ASC we are evidence-based and we want to become more of a data-driven organisation,” said Laura Guthschmidt, ASC GIS Coordinator. “This doesn’t just mean collecting data for the sake of it, we want to make the best use of data to fulfil our mission to drive up aquaculture standards, and this geospatial data will have multiple uses.
“Of course, we want to make this process as simple as possible for farmers and auditors. For that reason we’ve provided guidance and webinars, and developed an app and online portal into which farmers can enter this data.”
The additional data will enable the use of something called polygons – these track the boundaries of certified farms – and this information can help to ensure farms are compliant with certain requirements, for example the protection of wetlands or mangrove forests.
All ASC farms must undergo surveillance audits at least once a year, meaning this data should be provided from all farm in 12 months’ time.
For more information, visit the GIS Online Portal.