A plus for responsible aquaculture
Fish and seafood are among the most important foodstuffs worldwide. But fish stocks are under pressure: One way to prevent overfishing is to make use of aquaculture. To ensure that aquaculture is conducted with care and in a sustainable fashion there is now also the certification process of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council as a counterpart to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
This international, independent and non-profit organisation has drawn up standards for sustainable fish farming and its certification system provides consumers the means of identifying responsible aquaculture. As one of the few accredited partners in Germany, TÜV NORD CERT offers certification according to ASC specifications.
National and international companies from nearly all sectors of the fishing industry which have to do with aquaculture can obtain certification, including importers, processors, wholesalers and retailers, institutional catering facilities and restaurants, and fish farm associations. When they have successfully undergone an audit they have documentary proof of their sustainable commitment to the responsible handling of fish as a commodity – more and more purchasers and consumers demand verification of the purchased product's origin. Certification ensures through unbroken traceability that the goods are from a legal catch. This enhances credibility when dealing with fish farms, customers and end consumers.
After certification, companies may use the widely known and respected ASC logo on their products. This secures a number of competitive advantages, creates access to new and environmentally aware customer groups and provides independent evidence of a completely transparent supply chain.
TÜV NORD CERT provides product chain certification to the ASC "Chain of Custody" for all companies in the supply chain (at the present time we cannot offer certification of fish farms on the spot).
The certification proceeds as follows:
- An optional pre-audit reveals possible weaknesses in the preparatory phase.
- Once employees have been informed about the ASC principles, an ASC officer is appointed and he will monitor compliance with the ASC requirements.
- Accredited certifiers and ASC auditors from TÜV NORD CERT visit the company, review the documentation with respect to traceability from the reception of goods to dispatch of goods and conduct interviews with employees to obtain a picture of how the fish is handled.
- If necessary, the certifiers will stipulate conditions, for example the presentation of evidence of suppliers' certification.
- After the certification process has been successfully completed TÜV NORD CERT draws up a report and issues the ASC certificate, which is valid for three years. Following this, regular monitoring audits are conducted to ensure the standard is maintained.
- The certified company can register with the ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) to use the ASC logo.