ASC puts 35 auditors to the test in China
With demand for Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification on the rise throughout China and across Asia, the certification body welcomed 35 new auditors to Beijing to complete a six day training course.
From 4-9 January, the auditors were tested on their understanding of ASC’s shrimp, tilapia and bivalve standards. Certifying body SAI hosted the training session, and was joined by SGS, Bureau Veritas, Intertek and a number of independent auditors, as well as staff from WWF and Tesco.
Attendees of the training session also utilized a traceability module provided by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which focused on Chain of Custody Requirements for certification; these requirements are now included in the ASC’s Certification and Accreditation Requirements.
Of the 35 auditor candidates, 26 received training in all three species available. Once auditors pass the ASC-provided final exam, they will be permitted to conduct independent assessments in China and other countries across the Asia-Pacific region.
“This auditor training will allow us to meet the groundswell of demand for ASC certification throughout the Asian region,” said Bas Geerts, Standards Director at ASC.
“The overwhelming majority of farmed fish comes from Asia and ASC is expanding operations so more Chinese farms have the opportunity to become engaged in the ASC certification programme. The recently trained auditors will be able to work with farms across the region as they seek to become certified against the most comprehensive standards for reducing environmental impacts, improving conditions for farm workers and reducing the impact of farming operations on local communities.”
ASC certification has taken Asia by storm over the last two years, the certification body said. AEON, the largest retailer in Japan, recently made ASC certified shrimp available across all stores nationwide, while Hong Kong’s YATA collaborated with KLG Fine Food to promote a limited-time, exclusive range of ASC offerings. Moreover, Qionghai Zhongpingzi Grobest tilapia farm and Chengmai Xingyuan Development Co Ltd become the first Chinese farms to achieve ASC certification last year.