ASC Programme Centre Beta

Feed CAR

Part A sets out the requirements that all CABs shall implement in their own procedures and management system. Following these requirements allows them to carry out certification services for Clients that wish to make a claim that the aquaculture feed product(s) they sell are compliant to the ASC Feed Standard.

The documents listed below are part of the ASC Certification Requirements. 

For references that have a specific date or version number, later amendments or revisions do not apply. CABs are encouraged to review the most recent editions and any guidance documents available to gain further insight. 

For references without dates or version numbers, the latest edition of the document referred to applies.

  1. ASC Feed Standard: See  www.asc-aqua.org 
  2. ASC Feed Certification Requirements for Unit of Certification (RUoC)
  3. ISO 17065 Conformity Assessment – Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services
  4. ISO 19011 Guidelines for auditing management systems
  5. ISO 17021-1 Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems
  6. ISO 9001 Auditing Practices Group Guidance on: REMOTE AUDITS
  7. IAF MD 4:2018 IAF Mandatory document for the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for auditing/assessment purposes.

3.1. All definitions are published in the ASC Vocabulary Portal.

4.1. Requirement of Accreditation

4.1.1. A CAB shall have had its application to the ASC appointed accreditation body for accreditation to the scope of the certification it wishes to provide, accepted before starting to sell certification services.

4.1.2. A CAB shall only award certificates once it is accredited and only within the scope of its accreditation.

4.1.3. A CAB shall recognise that Clients with a valid certificate issued by other accredited CABs conform to relevant ASC standards.

4.1.4. A CAB shall authorise the ASC appointed accreditation body to publish the CAB’s company name, full address and contact persons’ details.

4.1.5. A CAB shall authorise the ASC appointed accreditation body to publish accreditation assessment reports on its website.

4.2. Conformity to ISO 17065, 17021, 19011 and the ASC requirements

4.2.1. All CABs shall conform to the requirements of ISO 17065 and all other ASC Requirements relevant to the scope of accreditation applied for or held.

4.2.2. CABs shall conform to the ASC requirements in this document in the case of a conflict with any listed ISO standards.

4.2.3. CAB audit personnel should follow guidance provided in ISO 19011.

4.2.4 The CAB shall develop procedures for ASC social audits that are consistent with the latest version of ISO 17021 and ISO 19011, making adaptations taking into account specific requirements of this CAR.

4.2.5. In cases of inconsistency between ISO 17021 and IS0 19011, the former shall prevail.

4.3. Normative annexes

4.3.1 CABs shall follow annexes in this document, as applicable.

4.4. Compliance with legal requirements

4.4.1 CABs shall comply with the legal requirements in the countries in which they operate.

4.4.2 Key CAB personnel shall demonstrate understanding of applicable legislation and regulations of the country where certification services are being offered.

4.5.  Certification Decision-Making Entity

4.5.1. The CAB’s decision-making entity shall authorise and justify in writing any changes to the terms of certification.

4.6. Communication with the ASC

4.6.1. CABs shall follow the communication requirements in Annex D.

4.7. The ASC CAB calibration workshops

4.7.1. CABs shall participate in the annual ASC, CAB and appointed accreditation body tripartite sessions.

4.7.2. CABs should participate in the workshops and calibrations sessions organised by the ASC.

4.8. Use of the ASC and CAB trademarks

4.8.1. All uses of the ASC trademark(s) by a CAB shall be subject to an ASC logo licence agreement.

4.8.2. The CAB shall have documented procedures for the issue and use of any logo or trademark of the CAB (ISO 17065 Use of license, certificates and marks of conformity) for the ASC program, including procedures for pre-publication review and authorisation by the CAB of all uses of the CAB’s logo, claims or trademarks by ASC Certificate Holders.

5.1. Mechanism for safeguarding impartiality

5.1.1. The CAB shall have a documented structure which safeguards impartiality within the CAB and its operations.

5.1.2. The structure shall be described in the documents that establish the CAB’s legal status, or by some other means that prevents change which could compromise the function of the structure to safeguard impartiality.

5.1.3. This may be through vesting authority to the impartiality structure for approval of policies, and some significant procedures such as the rules of procedure for the operation of the impartiality structure itself.

5.1.4. The impartiality structure may be an impartiality committee or equivalent structure.

5.1.5. The structure may be independent of management or combined with management function.

5.1.6. The CAB shall be responsible for:

5.1.6.1. The adequacy of the process for identifying and involving the relevant Stakeholders.

5.1.6.2. The impartiality structure itself to demonstrate the adequacy of their participation.

5.1.6.3. Providing all the information required for the impartiality structure to perform their job, including, but not limited to, the reasons for:

  1. all significant decisions and actions
  2. the selection of persons responsible for particular activities in respect to certification.

5.1.7. The impartiality structure shall involve all parties concerned with the development of principles and policies for the functioning of the CAB’s certification system. This may include the CAB itself, regulatory authorities, NGOs, consultants, academics, feed producers, primary producers, processors, wholesalers, retailers, food service providers, restaurants and consumers.

5.1.7.1. This should be a high-level committee with the responsibility for ensuring impartiality and not predominantly a technical or sector-based group.

5.1.7.2. The membership shall not only be selected to reflect the technical expertise of the CAB.

  1. When necessary, it can be supported by technical experts as required
  2. No single interest shall predominate.

5.1.8. Documentation for the mechanism for safeguarding impartiality shall include:

5.1.8.1 Rules of procedure that establish the duties and rights of members (e.g., rule for attendance, quorum and voting).

  1. Members shall sign declarations of confidentiality
  2. Members shall sign annual declarations of the absence of conflicts of interest.

5.1.8.2. The principle that impartiality shall be established at three levels within the CAB:

  1. Strategies and policies
  2. Decisions on certification
  3. Auditing.

5.1.9. The impartiality structure shall conduct annual reviews that include:

5.1.9.1. The current and intended activities of the CAB.

5.1.9.2. The competence of key CAB personnel.

5.1.9.3. The potential impartiality risks associated with the CAB’s operation.

5.1.10. The function of the structure shall ensure that:

5.1.10.1. Commercial and other considerations do not prevent the objective provision of certification services.

5.1.10.2. The period of time specified by the CAB for which personnel shall not be used to review or make a certification decision for a product for which they have provided consultancy time, shall be no less than 2 years.

5.1.10.3. No audit or certification services shall be provided to Clients if any of the products or services provided by the CAB or the CAB’s personnel are still in use by the Client.

5.2. Confidentiality

5.2.1. The CAB shall document arrangements to safeguard confidentiality (ISO 17065 4.5).

5.3. Complaints and Appeals

5.3.1. The CAB shall have a documented procedure for handling complaints and appeals that includes:

5.3.1.1. A requirement that all formal and informal complaints, appeals, concerns or objections related to the activities of the CAB, a Certificate Holder or an applicant, shall be kept on file and logged (ISO 17065 section 7.13.1).

5.3.1.2. A description of involvement of the ASC appointed accreditation body and the ASC in case of appeals.

5.3.1.3. Reference to the ASC appointed accreditation body’s dispute mechanism, including incidents, complaints and appeals handling processes.

5.3.1.4. CABs shall report all logged issues using FORM 4 submitted annually no less than forty-two (42) days prior to the annual surveillance by the ASC appointed accreditation body’s visit. Copies shall be sent to the ASC and the ASC appointed accreditation body.

5.3.1.5. In case of suspension or withdrawal of the ASC accreditation of the CAB, all logged issues shall be sent to the ASC appointed accreditation body and ASC as part of the suspension or withdrawal process, using FORM 4 no later than the final date of accreditation.

5.3.1.6. Determining whether the complaint or appeal relates to certification activities for which the CAB is responsible.

5.3.1.7. The appointment of an independent member of the CAB management who shall:

  1. Report to top management
  2. Be responsible for ensuring that procedures (ISO 17065 complaints and appeals) are followed.

5.3.1.8. A procedure for reviewing all complaints and escalate them to the responsible CAB personnel as appropriate.

5.3.1.9. Encouragement for the complainants to submit copies of their complaints directly to the ASC at:

  1. Email: complaints@asc-aqua.org
  2. Mailing Address:

    Aquaculture Stewardship Council,
    Daalseplein 101,
    3511 SX Utrecht,
    The Netherlands

5.3.2. The CAB shall ensure that their complaints and appeals procedure is publicly available (e.g., on CAB website).

6.1. Internal Audits

6.1.1. Internal audits shall be performed at least once every twelve (12) months or completed within a twelve (12) month time frame for segmented (or rolling) internal audits.

6.1.2. Internal audits shall cover all ASC Requirements in a planned and systematic manner.

7.1. CAB Personnel

7.1.1. All personnel involved in delivering conformity assessment services shall be knowledgeable about the aims and objectives of the ASC.

7.1.1.1. This shall include knowledge of international agreements, conventions and treaties relevant to the ASC certification scope as appropriate to the role and responsibilities of each individual.

7.1.2. The CAB shall register all auditors working with the ASC scheme with the ASC and the appointed accreditation body.

7.1.3. The CAB shall ensure that all CAB personnel shall not participate in ASC conformity assessment services until they have the required experience, completed the required training, and demonstrated the required competencies for their role as described in Annex B.

7.1.4. The CAB shall not assign the same lead auditor to audit a UoC for more than 3 consecutive calendar years.

7.1.4.1. If the CAB has only one lead auditor in a given region and is not able to assign a different lead auditor, the CAB shall submit a variance request, on a case-by-case basis, explaining how to avoid the potential conflict of interest due to the familiarity with the Client and its UoC.

7.1.5. The CAB shall have a written procedure to confirm annually that every auditor is qualified and competent as described in Annex B and registered with the ASC as required. This procedure shall include:

  1. Performance evaluation of CAB personnel involved in the ASC conformity assessment activities
  2. Annual calibration sessions on auditing against the ASC standards and requirements to ensure consistent practice among auditors and other CAB personnel
  3. Record keeping of all training and calibration sessions including a record of the individuals that participated.

7.1.6. Audit teams shall include an ASC lead auditor.

7.1.7. Audit team member(s) shall collectively have the experience, expertise; language skills and cultural knowledge required to conduct an effective audit. This includes:

7.1.7.1. Relevant knowledge of national and local laws that apply to the operation of the UoC being audited that includes but is not limited to:

  1. Environmental laws
  2. Occupational health and safety laws
  3. Labour laws (both national and regional)
  4. Laws governing ownership and use of land and water
  5. Licenses and permits
  6. Knowledge of Client’s operations regarding the wages and working time
  7. Cultural knowledge of the region/location where the UoC is located and of existing differences in the kinds of employees (such as full-time, temporary, contracted and migrant workers)
  8. Applicable languages and dialects, both written and spoken, by the majority of employees in the UoC
  9. Local building codes and bylaws.

7.1.7.2. Environmental and social science and technology, environmental management methods and aspects of operations that includes but is not limited to:

  1. Knowledge and experience related to the ASC Standard being audited, including risk assessment
  2. Environmental issues in the area of the operation
  3. The management of natural resources
  4. Environmental protection
  5. The interaction of the activities, products, services, and operations with the environment
  6. Sector specific terminology
  7. Environmental aspects and impacts
  8. Methods for evaluating the significance of environmental aspects
  9. Aspects of operational processes, products and services
  10. Monitoring and measurement techniques
  11. Technologies and methods for the prevention of pollution
  12. Social aspects of applicant operations and their surrounding communities.

7.1.7.3 The CAB shall use technical experts independent of the Client to support the audit team. The area of expertise and affiliations of the technical expert shall be recorded in the audit report.

7.1.7.4. When translation services are needed to conduct the audit, the CAB shall select interpreters that are independent of the Client.

7.1.7.5. The CAB shall have procedures to determine if potential interpreters are competent and skilled in interpretation from the national or local language, into the operating language of the audit team. This shall include as a minimum:

  1. Language certificate of the operating language of the audit team if it is not native to the interpreter.
    1. The certificate shall be at least of level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL).
    2. The CAB may be exempted of this requirement when the operating language of the audit team is English and if/when interpreters come from countries/regions ranked high or very high by the EF English Proficiency Index (EPI).
  2. Good understanding and experience of the interpreters, with the subjects being interpreted.
  3. Detailed CVs of interpreters shall be kept on file by CABs.

8.1. If the CAB accreditation is suspended or withdrawn by the ASC appointed accreditation body, the CAB shall inform all affected Applicants and Certificate Holders in writing, within five (5) days of the date of notification, regardless of the decision of the CAB to appeal the decision. The CAB shall ensure that ASC is copied in on this suspension or withdrawal communication.

8.2. The CAB shall allow ASC to publish on its website the suspended or withdrawn status within five (5) days from notification.