Seafood Source and FishWise Lead Human Rights Webinar with Seafish and Fair Trade USA

Created on Saturday, 22 August 2015

slide2As fishery yields decline the demand for cheap labor aboard fishing vessels and in seafood processing facilities is increasing. Egregious violations like human trafficking, debt bondage, and forced labor are the result of this demand. The occurrence of Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing has been estimated at 11-26 million tons of global production annually, which may account for up to a quarter of the global catch. Recently investigators discovered seafood on American supermarket shelves supplied by slave labor.Human rights and labor abuses in the seafood supply chain are drawing increasing attention in the media and among industry executives. As consumers and producers grow aware of the shocking reality of seafood production in some parts of the world, businesses are stepping up to address these issues.FishWise’s human rights expert, Aurora Alifano, helped organize a webinar on human rights in the seafood supply chain through, a major news outlet for the seafood industry. Alifano served as a panelist alongside Libby Woodhatch of UK’s Seafish and Maya Spaull of Fair Trade USA. The panelists addressed seafood industry leaders and nonprofit organizations working on human rights in the seafood sector, encouraging collaboration and presenting practical solutions to this global challenge.Seafood companies can reduce human rights abuses by becoming more familiar with every level within their supply chains. Convoluted and multi-stage supply chains can make the problem seem overwhelming, but there are several actions companies can take, including: creating a policy on human rights, working to improve supply chain traceability, and increasing communication with vendors.Seafood companies can further reduce the risk of human rights abuses in supply chains by:- Supporting improvements to seafood traceability and supply chain transparency.- Auditing for labor violations on vessels (by physically boarding the vessel and analyzing visual evidence of facilities onboard).- Making plans to work with suppliers and to leverage change.- Identifying opportunities to work with governments, NGOs, and other industry actors to identify risk areas, encourage effective policies, and set timelines for improvements.- Reviewing case studies on best practices.- Empowering and supporting small-scale fishermen.FishWise recommends that seafood businesses share concerns regarding human trafficking and forced labor with suppliers and discuss improvements that suppliers can implement with agreed-upon timelines.Seafood Source Premium members can listen to the webinar recording here. Not a member? Sign up for the Premium Membership Free Trial for a week to watch the webinar recording and access other Premium information.FishWise continues to track this issue. To learn more, read Trafficked II, our white paper on human rights issues in the seafood industry or contact