Complaints, Appeals & Disputes
Nature of the Complaint
Complaints, appeals and disputes regarding certification brought to the attention of the Best Aquaculture Practices program by retailers, consumers, facilities or other parties will be handled by GAA/BAP or referred to the certification body involved, depending on the nature of the complaint.
- Complaints, appeals and disputes associated with the certification decision, audit, auditor or CB are referred to the applicable certification body.
- Complaints, appeals or disputes not associated with the certification or audit process will be handled by the appropriate GAA/BAP staff member(s).
Depending on the nature of the issue, GAA/BAP reserves the right at its sole discretion to investigate a complaint independently or in conjunction with the complainant or certification body. This may include, but is not limited to, requesting further information, conducting unannounced audits and/or requesting an investigation by the facility in question.
Timeliness & Submittal in Writing
- The GAA/BAP staff may contact the complainant for further information, as needed. To ensure a proper investigation can be done by GAA/BAP or the certification body, it is important that the complaint is filed in a timely fashion.
- In an effort to best handle any situation that arises, it is important that the complainant provide specific details in writing as to the nature of the complaint. This information includes date, time, location, photos or any other details and documentary evidence to help assist in investigation of the complaint. When complaints or appeals have been submitted with sufficient information to determine the need for further investigation, the matter is carried forward.
Certification Body Complaints, Appeals & Disputes Process
Certification applicants have the right to appeal the certification decisions of certification bodies. Certification bodies shall have documented appeals processes in place and make such policies available to facilities upon request and/or in the event of a complaint. Appeals shall be made in writing within the time frames and format stipulated by the CB.
- A full investigation shall be conducted, and a written response shall be provided by certification body personnel that are independent of the auditor and certification decision maker(s). Appeals and complaints must be resolved within the time frame set by the CB. Actions taken and their effectiveness must be documented.
- GAA/BAP requires a full investigation of the report by the CB and, where applicable, the certified site, and a response shall be submitted to GAA/BAP for consideration upon completion of the investigation.
- If the complaint has been resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant and the CB, no further action may be required.
- If the issues raised in the complaints are not addressed to the satisfaction of GAA/BAP, or if the CB or CB auditor actions may bring the certification program into disrepute, the CB may be asked to investigate further, may be sanctioned or suspended, or may have its GAA/BAP approval revoked.
- The CB may not undertake any audits while its contract with BAP is suspended or following any termination.
- Where a complaint is considered by GAA/BAP to have been justified, the information related to the complaint may be made available to the certification body’s accreditation body.
- Where appropriate, GAA/BAP may request the certification body to sanction, suspend or withdraw facility certification, or sanction, suspend or withdraw a GAA BAP-approved auditor.