The U.S. Department of State maintained Thailand's Tier 3 ranking, the lowest category, in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report released this morning. The ranking accurately reflects Thailand's lagging efforts to combat human trafficking and may incentivize the Thai government to make greater strides in the coming year.
The Tier 3 ranking, as well as the research and recommendations contained in the report, will be an important tool for governments, international institutions, companies and investors to continue to press the Thai authorities. The current ask of the Thai government is to enact more substantive reforms to end the labor trafficking that can be found in many sectors of Thailand's economy, including seafood.
There are an estimated 3-4 million migrant workers in Thailand working in manual labor jobs. Several high-profile global media exposés last year brought significant international attention to the problem of human trafficking among migrant workers in Thailand's fishing industry. Issues associated with Thai shrimp production were among the first investigated but other exported seafood products likely have similar issues as Thailand's recruitment and labor practices are systemic problems. The European Union issued Thailand an illegal fishing "yellow card" for its failure to adequately monitor its fishing industry in April, which gave the Thai government six months to improve oversight, or face sanctions.
Thailand's Tier 3 ranking in the 2015 TIP Report is a clear signal to the Thai government that a robust program of actions and series of reforms must be implemented. The Tier 3 status does not automatically induce sanctions, though sanctions are possible in the future. President Obama now has 90 days to determine whether to apply sanctions against Tier 3 governments. The President can block various types of aid and could withdraw U.S. support for loans from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, although he did not impose sanctions on Thailand in 2014.
It is important that government, industry and civil society all work together to push for greater enforcement and prevention of human trafficking and to uphold the rights of migrant workers. All seafood companies should be aware of this issue and be vigilant to ensure that human trafficking, forced labor, and other human rights issues are not present in their supply chains. Greater visibility into supply chains, improved seafood traceability, identification of risks, and engagement with suppliers to find practical solutions are needed.
To learn how consumers and companies can help prevent human trafficking and forced labor in seafood supply chains read our Q&A Document.
Recommendations for seafood buyers in the U.S. and EU can be found in our briefing: Briefing On Human Trafficking And Abuse In Thailand's Shrimp Supply Chains.
Albertsons Companies Expands Responsible Seafood Partnership With FishWise
SANTA CRUZ, CA (July 22, 2015) –
Albertsons Companies, Inc. which includes well known banners such as Albertsons, JewelOsco, Shaw’s and Safeway , the second-largest traditional grocer in the U.S., is expanding its partnership with nonprofit sustainable seafood advisor FishWise across all of the Company’s banners. Safeway began a partnership with FishWise in 2010 to develop and implement a more comprehensive sustainable seafood policy. With the merger completed between the two companies in January 2015, FishWise is now bringing its data-driven approach and environmental expertise to the Company’s stores nationwide.
This partnership strengthens efforts to monitor global seafood sustainability issues and make informed purchasing decisions. FishWise will work with the Company’s banners to gather vendor and product information, and assess the unique opportunities for each Albertsons banner. “We will be building upon the Company’s past ocean conservation work, bringing in our scientific expertise and collaborative approach to forge solutions,” says FishWise Executive Director Tobias Aguirre.
In 2011, Safeway set a progressive, industry-leading goal for all fresh and frozen seafood to be responsibly caught or farmed, or to come from sources making credible improvements. Safeway banners are on track to accomplish the goal by the end of 2015, with over 75% of their seafood sourcing already in compliance. “Safeway has made tremendous progress these past four years by improving existing sources and also bringing in new environmentally responsible products. Innovative partnerships with suppliers that are willing to engage have been a key factor in the project’s success thus far,” says Aguirre. In March 2015, Safeway stores in Northern California, Oregon and Washington launched the world’s first Fair Trade Certified™ seafood.
Albertsons Companies includes a diversified network of over 2,200 stores across 33 states and the District of Columbia, 30 distribution facilities and 21 manufacturing plants with over 265,000 employees.
About Albertsons Companies, Inc.
Albertsons Companies is one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States, with both a strong local presence and national scale. We operate stores across 33 states and the District of Columbia under 18 well-known banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market and Carrs. FishWise, PO BOX 233, Santa Cruz, CA 95061 PH: 831.239.8660 FAX: 309.213.4688
FishWise is a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy based in Santa Cruz, CA. Uniquely positioned between the seafood industry and marine conservation organizations, FishWise offers a range of services that create trust between seafood vendors and their customers, enabling businesses to sell more sustainable seafood, more profitably. For more information, please visit www.fishwise.org
Marc de Giere, Communications Project Manager
Phone (831) 427-1707 Fax (309) 213-4688
FishWise is proud to announce that our partners Safeway, Target, and Hy-Vee all ranked among the top 5 retailers in Greenpeace's 2015 Carting Away the Oceans Report. Now in its ninth year, the CATO report and scorecard provide insight on "which of the country’s major grocery chains are leaders in sustainable seafood," according to Greenpeace. In the accompanying blog post, Greenpeace commended the top score recipients for "doing the best job of offering ocean safe seafood options."
Greenpeace praised all three of these partners for their efforts in offering ocean safe tuna, each carrying at least one sustainable tuna option. Target was highlighted for introducing sustainably caught pole and line skipjack and albacore canned tuna under its Simply Balanced brand last year, which "features an easy-to-read and informative label." The report also pointed out Target's commitment to not sell farmed salmon. This recognition arrives on the heels of Target's recent corporate sustainability report, which highlighted many other successes on the path to their 2015 goal for fresh and frozen seafood.
As the food industry comes to terms with the prevalent human rights abuses in seafood supply chains, Greenpeace applauded Hy-Vee and Safeway for beginning to take initial steps to address this critical issue. They are among leading retailers who have called on Congress to pass the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015. In addition, the report acknowledged Target "meeting with Thai government officials, labor organizations, and vendors to address the shrimp supply chain."
Hy-Vee turned heads yet again for shooting to third place in only its second year in the report. This was in no small part due to Hy-Vee's decision to discontinue Chilean sea bass, a move only made more admirable through using Hy-Vee's dedicated seafood sustainability blog to make the announcement and keep its customers informed.
Looking forward into the coming year, FishWise envisions human rights and canned tuna being prioritized by the seafood industry so in the next CATO report we'll be giving out congratulations for more significant achievements in these areas.
You can read the full PDF Carting Away the Oceans Report here: http://cato.greenpeaceusa.org
Photo credit: Seathos.org
FishWisers have been tuning into Shark Week every night with the rest of the country. Discovery Channel’s annual program has highlighted the good, the bad, and the downright ugly when it comes to the ocean’s most feared predators. But sharks are far more threatened by humans than we are by sharks.
Every year, between 63 and 273 million sharks are killed in commercial fisheries, representing 6.4% and 7.9% of all the sharks in the ocean. That’s up to more than 500 sharks per minute! There is increasing global demand for shark fins, endangering vulnerable species like scalloped hammerheads and oceanic white tips. That’s why none of our nationwide retailer partners source shark fins or shark fin soup, and shark meat comes only from Seafood Watch Yellow-rated fisheries in the US, indicating they are a Good Alternative for responsibly sourced seafood.
Even when we as consumers make the choice not to eat shark, it’s important to eat only responsibly caught seafood. More than half of the sharks caught each year are caught as bycatch in commercial fisheries, meaning they were not the target species. By purchasing from only sustainable sources, we can ensure these charismatic creatures will continue to inspire fear and admiration in future generations.
The Discovery Channel’s annual “Shark Week” ends tonight July 10! For more information, including ways in which you can help save sharks, visit http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/shark-week.
Each year, over 4 million metric tonnes of tuna are caught worldwide, with estimated market values over $7 billion in the central and western Pacific alone. Tuna is one of the most commercially valuable species and can be a target for Illegal, Unreported, & Unregulated (IUU) activities, risking overfishing of these stocks.
In effort to combat IUU fishing, the five tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) have created a harmonized database of authorized fishing vessels operating in their jurisdictions. The Consolidated List of Authorized Vessels (CLAV) is updated daily, taking vessel data from all 5 RFMOs, compiling the information, and identifying discrepancies. The tool is a great step forward in combatting IUU fishing as it provides fisheries managers and industry better information and reduces uncertainty in knowing which vessels have the right to fish in which areas. These 5 RFMOs cover around 91% of the entire ocean surface, increasing accountability for tuna fishers on a large scale (Pew Charitable Trusts).
The CLAV is built to reduce human burden and provide real-time information to fisheries managers. Information in the CLAV includes vessel history, physical descriptions, and a unique identification number dubbed the Tuna Unique Vessel Identifier (TUVI). While the CLAV is still a work in progress, the data could be used to feed into a Global Record of Fishing Vessels in the future.
The 5 RFMOs that contribute to the CLAV:
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts