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Aquaculture Stewardship Council and SCS Global Services

Now accredited to perform full assessments for Salmon

Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)

Certification for Farmed Fish and Seafood Production

Assure buyers, retailers and general consumers that your aquaculture production conforms to the world's leading standard for responsibly farmed fish and seafood with Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification. SCS offers pre-assessments for all species covered under the ASC label and offers full assessment to the Salmon Standard. SCS will become accredited to conduct aquaculture certification to new ASC standards as they are released.

SCS Global Services has expertise with all major farmed species including pangasius, tilapia, shrimp, salmon, trout, abalone and bivalves. Unique among conformity assessment bodies, our staff scientists helped to develop three of the eight ASC standards and currently belong to the ASC Technical Advisory Group. With this expertise, we are well qualified to address your aquaculture farming and ASC Chain of Custody certification needs, and can also bundle with seafood safety auditing.

CONTACT US

Sian Morgan
Project Manager, Sustainable Seafood

510.452.6392
Email Sian

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Program Details

Eligibility

Any aquaculture producer who farms one of the species covered by the ASC standards can take part in the ASC certification program.

Pre-assessments

SCS offers pre-assessments for the following ASC standards:

  • Abalone
  • Bivalves (clams, mussels, oysters and scallops)
  • Freshwater Trout
  • Pangasius
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Tilapia
Full-assessments

SCS is accredited to perform full assessments for ASC Salmon, and is a formal applicant for the ASC Pangasius standard. We are becoming accredited to provide full certification assessments for the ASC label for other standards as they become available.

Accreditation (the ability to issue certificates) is open for the ASC Salmon, Pangasius and Tilapia standards. Accreditation for the bivalves, abalone, shrimp and freshwater trout standards is expected to open soon. SCS will make accreditation decisions according to demand. Please contact us if you are interested in becoming certified against any of these standards.

Certification Criteria

To receive certification, a client fishery must meet or exceed the minimum standards for legality, including: land and water usage; pollution and waste management; genetics and biodiversity, feed management; health management, veterinary medicines and chemicals; and social accountability.

Complementary Services

SCS also offers the convenience of combined Seafood Chain of Custody audits with HACCP based (hazard analysis critical control point) inspections through our seafood safety auditing programs.

Fisheries may be certified under the Marine Stewardship Council Standards.

Pre-Assessment

SCS Global Services can conduct pre-assessments against any of the ASC standards, whether in draft or final form. Pre-assessments allow producers to determine their conformity to emerging or existing ASC standards and identify any improvements needed. This sets producers up to be among the first companies certified, and to demonstrate to buyers their firm commitment to supplying ASC certified products.

A pre-assessment includes:

  • Gap analysis of your operations against the standard
  • Report identifying areas of improvement

To achieve certification, pre-assessment of any publically available standard is followed by a formal full assessment. Cost considerations for full assessment include the extent of production, the number and type of improvements needed, and the steps needed to audit these changes (e.g., is an onsite audit needed, what auditing skill set is required).

SCS offers pre-assessments for the following species:

  • Abalone
  • Bivalves (clams, mussels, oysters and scallops)
  • Freshwater Trout
  • Pangasius
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Tilapia

Process

  1. Pre-Assessment (Optional)

    SCS evaluates the qualifications of your aquaculture operation and determines what risks, if any, may limit your ability to successfully complete a rigorous and comprehensive assessment.

  2. On-Site Farm Audit

    SCS conducts a full farm assessment, following procedures described in the ASC's Farm Assessment Methodology. An independent assessment team reviews documentation, interviews stakeholders and evaluates aquaculture operations against specific environmental and social practices.

  3. Audit Report and Public Comment

    The SCS certification team writes a draft report, which is reviewed by the client and two independent peer reviewers. Information that relates to competitive advantage may be removed from the audit report at this point, in agreement with the assessment team.The report is then posted for public comment.

  4. Certification Decision

    After considering all comments, a final report is released that includes the final decision on whether or not to award certification. If no objections have been raised, the public certification report is published and your aquaculture operation receives a certificate from SCS.

  5. Maintain Certification

    Certificates are valid for three years. Certification is subject to random surveillance audits in which critical control points such as harvest are observed.

Benefits

ASC Certification provides independent assurance to your customers that your farmed fish and seafood products comply with rigorous environmental and social criteria, leading to the following benefits:

  • Access to new markets and clients
  • Increased sales to existing clients
  • Reinforced company reputation
  • Price premiums
  • Increased worker and shareholder satisfaction
  • Increased governmental recognition and support
  • Access to development funding

FAQs

What makes ASC different from other aquaculture standards?

ASC is the gold standard among aquaculture standards. The ASC Standards were created by an open and transparent multi-stakeholder initiative, convened by the World Wildlife Fund. ASC was built following the most stringent methods for standards setting, and is a scheme with credibility elements that conform to the FAO Guidelines for Ecolabelling and the ISEAL Alliance Code of Conduct. Choosing ASC means that your certificate will show that your operation has been third-party audited to a stringent level of performance, via a label established collaboratively by public interest groups, industry and academia. Many other standards are industry-founded, may not be third-party audited, may not have transparent governance structures, or may not have provided the opportunity for stakeholder engagement.

The ASC standard requires audits by assessment teams with strict and extensive technical requirements that are not applied in many other certification schemes for aquaculture.

How much does it cost to become ASC certified?

Costs will vary depending on the location, size and complexity of your aquaculture operation. We will tailor a quote for you based on information in your application form.

How long does the assessment take?

The length of the assessment will depend on a variety of factors including the size and complexity of the farm. The actual farm audit takes between 1 and 4 days, undertaken by a two to three person assessment team.

How long is an ASC certificate valid?

The certificate is valid for maximum of one year from the date of issue.

What seafood clients have been certified by SCS?

SCS has already undertaken a number of confidential pre-assessments against the Shrimp, Bivalve, Abalone and Salmon standards, and is actively involved in pilot projects for ASC.

With over ten years experience in MSC fisheries management certification, SCS is well positioned to offer ASC Responsible Aquaculture certification.

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