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New Audit Manual and Training for Farmed Bivalves Approved

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GLOBAL - The Audit Manual for the ASC Bivalves Standard has recently been approved following a successful pilot audit and review by the ASC Technical Advisory Group. This document guides both farmers and certifiers on how to achieve the ASC standards requirements by using examples of what auditors should pay attention to and what is required by farms.

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Thanks to the completion of the audit manual a group of auditors have been trained to assess farms against the ASC Bivalves Standard. The first training was held in Stirling (UK) last week. In addition, training for the ASC Salmon Standard took place at the same time in Stirling.

“The training sessions are important for the auditors to better familiarise themselves with the standard and to get a good understanding of how the farms will be audited against the criteria in the standard. And this, to the ASC, is important to get consistent audit results,” said ASC Standards Director Bas Geerts.

Tailor made training

Every ASC Standard has individual requirements. Auditors therefore need to be trained on each standard. The training covers all aspects of the assessment process. At the same time, Geerts considers that “it is a good way for the ASC to get feedback from auditing professionals on its standards and processes. This is put on record to inform further improvement of the ASC programme.”

Successful completion of the auditor training, including passing an exam, is a mandatory requirement of the ASC accreditation process.

Transparent process

ASC strives to have a fully transparent certification process. The announcement of a farm audit needs to be publicly visible for at least 30 days before the actual audit. Once the farm has been assessed by an accredited auditor, the next step is for the certifier to develop the draft farm audit report.

The draft report is posted for a minimum of 10 working days on ASC’s website. During this comments period, objections can be raised with the certifier who may include these considerations in an updated version of the audit report. The decision if a farm can become certified is also based on the last version of the report. The final audit report is published on the ASC web.