We apply a third-party certification system, meaning that certification of farms and product suppliers are done by independent certifiers.
Certifiers are accredited and monitored by an independent accreditation organisation, Assurance Services International. This ensures our program is robust, credible and meets best practice guidelines for standard-setting organisations as set out by ISEAL Alliance and United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Certified farms are subject to an annual surveillance audits including a risk analysis, focusing on the farms improvement plan/s and on a sample of the standard requirements.
Who can assess against the ASC standards?
Certification companies, also referred to as a Conformity Assessment Body (CAB), are independent of the ASC. Certifiers must demonstrate to another independent organisation, Assurance Services International (ASI), that they have the skills to undertake assessments of our standards. Auditors are also required to participate in a standard specific training including a mandatory exam that they must pass. Following accreditation, the certification companies are monitored by ASI to ensure they continue to operate in line with the our Certification and Accreditation Requirements (CAR). To see in where the accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies are most active per region, you can go here to download the CAB Operation Overview.
The majority of aquaculture globally is done by small to medium sized operations. It is therefore key to ensure we provide possibilities for these farms to adopt the ASC standards. Group Certification enables smaller-scale producers to join together as a group to collectively implement the ASC standards requirements. This allows them to share the costs and resources involved in meeting these requirements and auditing them. While the methodology allows smaller producers to collectively apply for certification, the applicable standard requirements remain the same, and every part of the group must meet these requirements to achieve certification. The following Group Certification documents can be downloaded under Documents (left column):
- ASC CAR v.2.2 including Group Certification April 2019
- ASC Requirements for the Certification of Producer Groups.v1 April 2019
- ASC Group Certification Templates for Groups
- ASC Group calculator
Overview of certification forms
For a fully transparent certification process we have implemented a set of forms to facilitate and give an overview of the process. The forms are available online and offline as word or excel files. The online certification process forms are listed below:
Form 2 – Request for Documentation of Non-Conformities for Audits to be conducted within Twelve (12) months of the Termination of a Valid Certificate – can be found under Documents (left column)
Form 3 – Public Disclosure Form – can be found under Documents as part of the audit report template (left column)
Form 4 – Log of Complaints, Concerns and Objections – can be found under Documents (left column)
Form 6 – Notice of lifted suspension
Joint checklists ASC and GLOBALG.A.P.
To facilitate further audit efficiency for farms seeking multiple certification, and to be able to serve clients with varying demands, the ASC and GLOBALG.A.P. have co-developed joint checklists for the pangasius, salmon and shrimp standards. The documents below can be used for farms already holding a GLOBALG.A.P. certificate that would like to add ASC certification.
For Farms already holding ASC certification and also seeking GLOBALG.A.P. certification, the checklists are listed on GLOBALG.A.P’s website.
Our farm standards, audit manuals and certification and accreditation requirements have been developed with the intention to cover most real-life scenarios in farming practises. Nevertheless, situations occur where these documents do not provide a solution. For this reason, accredited certifiers can submit a variance request (VR)/variation on the content of theses documents seeking interpretation guidance or how to address situations not covered.
Once a variance request is received by ASC, it is discussed within the VR-committee.
The committee consists of the Head of Standards and Science, Chair of Technical Advisory Group and an elected Technical Advisory Group member. If a certifier encounters an identical situation for which an earlier variance request has been submitted and approved, then the certifier can refer to the earlier variance request in the audit report for its decision. An overview on the variance request and their status can be found via: