Regal Springs Tilapia farm Aquafinca in Honduras was the first aquaculture operation to be audited for compliance with the International Standards for Responsible Tilapia Aquaculture (ISRTA), which were completed last December by the Tilapia Aquaculture Dialogue.
This is the first of a number of ‘pilot’ audits scheduled under an agreement between WWF and GlobalGAP. The audit was performed by auditors from the Institute for Marketecology (IMO), a world-wide operating certification organisation based in Switzerland that has been accredited for auditing against the GlobalGAP aquaculture standards, as well as complying with the requirements for Certification Bodies (CBs) that want to audit against the ISRTA.
Letter of compliance – pre-ASC assessment
The positive outcome of this first audit results in an interim letter of compliance with the ISRTA standards, issued to Regal Springs by IMO. This first audit took place under the agreement between WWF and GlobalGAP in order to allow aquaculture operations to be audited against the Aquaculture Dialogue standards in the period before the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has fully set up their verification scheme.
The ASC verification scheme
On September 15, the ASC announced their appointment of Accreditation Services International (ASI) as their international, independent accreditation body. Only ASI accredited CBs will be allowed to issue ASC certificates to operations that are in compliance with the standards, and the certificate will allow them to use the ASC consumer-facing label which is expected to be launched by mid-2011. Successful audits of producers compliant with the ISRTA standards carried out under the interim WWF/GlobalGAP agreement will not result in a consumer-facing label – it is a B2B initiative. Once the ASC accreditation and certification scheme is in place, consideration will be given to ASC certification of the Regal Springs farm.