ASC Document & Certification system

ASC is a code-compliant member of the ISEAL Alliance and implements a voluntary, independent third-party certification system[3] consisting of three independent actors: 

Scheme Owneri.e. Aquaculture Stewardship Council 
Accreditation Bodyi.e. Assurance Services International (ASI)
Conformity Assessment Body (CAB)i.e. accredited CAB

ASC, as scheme owner:

sets and maintains standards according to the ASC Standard Setting Procedure which is in compliance with the “ISEAL Standard-Setting Code of Good Practice”. ASC standards are normative documents;

sets and maintains the Interpretation Manual which provides: 

    1. guidance to the Unit of certification (UoC) on how to interpret and best implement the indicators within the Standard; 
    2. guidance to the auditor how to assess a UoC against the indicators within the Standard; 

sets and maintains the Certification and Accreditation Requirements (CAR) which adheres at a minimum to the “ISEAL Assurance Code of Good Practice”. The CAR describes the accreditation requirements, assessment requirements and certification requirements. The CAR is a normative document;

sets and maintains the Certification Requirements for the Unit of Certification (RUoC). The RUoC describes the certification requirements, that apply to the entity seeking certification, in addition to the standard requirements. The RUoC is a normative document.

These above listed documents are publicly available on the ASC website. 

Accreditation is the assurance process of assessing the Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) against accreditation requirements and is carried out by an Accreditation Body (AB). The appointed AB of ASC is Assurance Services International (ASI, “Accreditation Services International” prior to January 2019) which uses the CAR as normative document for the accreditation process. 

Assessment findings of ASI-accreditation audits and an overview of current accredited CABs is publicly available via the ASI-website (http://www.accreditation-services.com).

The UoC contracts the CAB which employs auditor(s) that conduct a conformity assessment (hereafter ‘audit’) of the UoC against the relevant standard. The management requirements for CABs as well as auditor competency requirements are described in the CAR and assured through ASI accreditation.

The UoC is audited at Indicator-level.

An ASC audit follows strict process requirements. These requirements are detailed in the CAR. Only ASI-accredited CABs are allowed to audit and certify a UoC against ASC standards. As scheme owner, ASC itself is not – and cannot be – involved in the actual audit and/or certification decision of a UoC. Granted certificates are the property of the CAB. ASC does not manage certificate validity.

Audit findings of all ASC audits, including granted certificates, are made publicly available on the ASC-website. These include the audit findings that result in a negative certification decision.

Note: in addition to the Standard there are Certification Requirements that apply to UoC seeking certification. These requirements are detailed in the Requirements for the Unit of Certification (RUoC).

ASC-certified entities shall only sell their product carrying the ASC Logo if a Logo Licence Agreement (LLA) has been signed. For more information see: ASC Logo.Unauthorised logo display is prohibited and will be treated as a trademark infringement.