Aquaculture Stewardship Council introduces group certification in Vietnam
The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) on Tuesday, 9 April launched a group certification in Vietnam, making its certification more accessible for small producers in the Southeast Asian nation.
A launch event was held in Can Tho City in the Mekong Delta, the most important region for pangasius and shrimp farming in the country, ASC said in a statement.
Under the new initiative, smaller-scale producers are able to join together as a group to collectively implement the requirements of ASC standards. This allows them to share the costs and resources involved in meeting these requirements and auditing them. While it will allow smaller producers to collectively apply for certification, the applicable requirements of the standard remain the same, and every part of the group must meet these requirements to achieve certification.
A significant proportion of shrimp produced in Vietnam comes from small-scale producers, who may now be able to take advantage of group certification.
“We are delighted to have launched this in Vietnam, where there are so many smaller producers who can benefit from the opportunity to implement ASC’s requirements,” Head of ASC Programme Assurance Van Roetert said.
ASC has developed the group certification over the past several years, the process of which involved public consultation and seven pilot groups in Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Finland.
The new group certification methodology is now available on ASC’s website. A six-month effective period will follow before audits can take place using the methodology, which will allow ASC to provide additional tools to implement the methodology and give producers and auditors time to familiarize themselves with the methodology, according to ASC.
In September last year, ASC, the Vietnamese Directorate of Fisheries and WWF Vietnam teamed up in a project to provide guidance for Vietnamese farmers to achieve ASC certification. The ASC-VietGAP benchmark has compared the Vietnamese aquaculture standard, VietGAP, and the ASC standards for shrimp, pangasius, and tilapia, to allow farms that have achieved VietGAP certification to transition to ASC certification as efficiently as possible.
Photo courtesy of Aquaculture Stewardship Council