The ASC is an independent, international non-profit organisation. To achieve our goals the ASC programme is:
ASC standards are developed and implemented according to ISEAL guidelines – multi-stakeholder, transparent, incorporating science-based performance metrics.
The requirements in the standards are realistic, measurable and auditable and deliver real change.
A globally recognised, market-oriented programme that aims to promote meaningful improvements in aquaculture production in a credible and cost efficient way that adds real value to producers and buyers of certified products.
The ASC Standards are developed in line with Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations Guidelines and is the only aquaculture certification scheme to be recognised as a full member of the ISEAL Alliance Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards, which requires inclusive and transparent standard setting.
We also use the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Assessing the Impacts of Social and Environmental Standards to demonstrate the ongoing validity of our work.
Our commitment to use the ISEAL Impacts Code required the development of a rigorous monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process to capture the effort farms make on their journey towards environmental sustainability and social responsibility.The M&E process that requires that we:
- define our organisational objectives
- understand what we must do to achieve these objectives
- identify how we measure our achievements
- seek feedback from key stakeholders in an effort to refine the system over time
The ISEAL Code doesn’t just give us a framework for setting up a process for our long and short term objectives, but ensures that we can demonstrate that the environmental and social impacts of aquaculture have been reduced and that we are promoting positive change.
The criteria for ASC certification are robust and require best practice performance including record keeping, monitoring and clear parameters for important indicators of environmental and social performance. The assessment procedures are independent and allow for a high level of stakeholder engagement.
Our programme also requires an unprecedented amount of transparency. Each standard includes an extensive period of public consultation, each farm audit is announced on the ASC website in advance and all stakeholders—including the community, the public, NGO’s and many others— are encouraged to submit information and data online at multiple points in the certification process. The auditor will also hold site visits and solicit participants for public meetings near the audit sites and other locations as appropriate. The final audit report can be viewed for ten days prior to the close of the process and anyone can raise an objection—which the CAB must consider prior to making a final determination— if so desired.
Transparency and continuous improvement
The ASC is also highly transparent as an organisation. Reports of all the board meetings and of various projects are posted on our website.
As science changes and we receive new information relating to better management and practices our standards may also change. The ASC is committed to conducting regular reviews of each standard to ensure they remain robust and meet or exceeds best industry practices.