A reply to the ASC’s response to criticism of its Shrimp Aquaculture Standard
On Principle 1
Criticism on Principle 1: The reference to the national law is weak. Often quality of national regulations is lacking as well as enforcement.
Reality: As a basic starting point, any farm seeking ASC certification must comply with national and local laws and be legal in the region where it operates.
The ASC knows what needs to be done. This was never in doubt. Unfortunately, they don’t know how to do it.
Our criticism was directed at their approach to finding a solution:
- The ASC did not seek out inputs from people who understood local and national environmental laws.
- They did not attempt to compile a set of documentation that the auditors would use as a reference, documentation that would include:
- Applicable environmental laws, and permits/documents that could be accepted as indicators for compliance
- Applicable land-usage laws and acceptable permits/documents etc.
- Applicable company law and acceptable permits/documents etc., to establish definitions of terms like “farm”, “business” and so on.
- Given that a checklist or reference documentation did not exist, the did not require that their auditors have appropriate qualifications in these matters.
- The audits of farms were conducted by people unqualified to determine if a farm was compliant under Principle 1.