FishWise Recommends Practical Steps to Improve Social Responsibility at GOAL
Over 430 seafood professionals attended the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s (GAA) Global Outlook for Aquaculture Leadership (GOAL) 2015 conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, from October 26 to 29, 2015. Social issues have become increasingly relevant to sustainable seafood conversations worldwide, and aquaculture is no exception. This year, the GAA firmly placed the issues of human and labor rights at center stage by convening a Social Responsibility Roundtable driven by expert panelists from FishWise, Seafish, Resiliensea Group Inc., Labour Rights Protection Network, and Regal Springs Tilapia.
FishWise Project Manager Aurora Alifano acknowledged the daunting scale of human and labor rights issues within the industry and recognized that companies need more insight to make impactful changes. She encouraged seafood businesses to implement good labor practices by using their influence to proactively engage their own supply chains, improve transparency, and communicate with vendors and consumers about actions taken and lessons learned. Improving transparency through enhanced traceability is not the only approach needed, but it will help shine a light on problem areas. FishWise is currently working to build connections across businesses, organizations, and governments, and is promoting a call to action for these groups to work together to eliminate human rights abuses and illegal products from supply chains.
Patima Tangprachayakul, Manager of the Thai-based Labour Rights Promotion Network, strongly conveyed the severe situation for fishermen from across Southeast Asia who are abused and trapped living in desperate conditions. The rights group estimates there could be up to 3,000 trafficked victims working on boats in these seas. “There are still thousands more who need help”, she said.
Opportunities exist for all companies to play a major role in safeguarding their supply chains. Greater visibility, identification of risks, and engagement with suppliers to find concrete practical solutions are needed. These efforts will help expand global capacity to supply both environmentally and socially sustainable seafood products. The social responsibility dialogue will continue at the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s GOAL 2016 conference in Guangzhou, China.