Media outlets are increasingly covering human rights abuses in seafood supply chains all over the world. Unfortunately, many seafood companies who have worked hard to create environmentally sustainable seafood sourcing policies remain unaware that human rights abuses are occurring, most likely in their own supply chains.
These companies have made a commitment to provide their customers with environmentally sustainable seafood products, a commitment that could be undermined by these human rights abuses. Trafficking and forced labor, among other abuses, have been documented in several supply chains of popular seafood items in the United States. In such supply chains human rights abuses are not the only concern – often fishing interests that commit social crimes against their workers are also committing environmental crimes.
The time has come for companies to take responsibility for both environmental sustainability and social aspects of their seafood supply chains. This can reduce the risk of negative attention as documented human rights abuses continue to grab headlines and also provide opportunities to improve brand value with consumers.
Human Rights Services
- Report on industry, government, and civil society efforts, initiatives, and progress to improve human rights in seafood supply chains.
- Provide guidance for engagement in human rights issues related to seafood sourcing, including introduction and coordination with human rights and labor experts.
- Conduct a human rights risk assessment of your supply chain to identify products sourced from high-risk countries and supply chains.
- Establish a supplier engagement strategy to address high-risk supply chains.
- Track and report on novel tools, resources, and best practices for supply chain improvements as they are developed.
Eliminating human rights abuses in seafood supply chains is not an easy task, but is a necessary and important one. FishWise has gained an in-depth understanding of human rights abuses in seafood supply chains, and has established relationships with many of the experts in the field. This information has been summarized in a white paper (below) to educate seafood businesses and stakeholders on the human rights abuses taking place in seafood supply chains and provide recommendations to improve human and labor rights within the industry.
Human Rights Resources
This is the second release of a white paper that aims to serve as a resource for seafood businesses seeking to prevent and eliminate such human rights abuses. It provides an overview of both human rights issues in seafood supply chains and the major challenges to reform, including corruption, lack of transparency, lack of enforcement, and the prevalence of illegal fishing. It explores how more than fifty international and regional government programs, certification systems, NGOs, companies, and industry groups are working on human and labor rights. Companies can use the recommended steps in this report to address human rights in an honest and transparent manner.
This report can also serve as a tool to help conservation NGOs and human rights experts join forces to improve human rights in the seafood industry. Human rights experts have traditionally focused their work on industries such as coffee, minerals and textiles and are not familiar with the seafood industry. Many ocean conservation groups lack this expertise, but have extensive knowledge of the seafood industry. This paper explores ways to connect these two important allies.
This revised version includes:
- An updated summary of media stories and reports on human rights abuses in seafood supply chains that have been released since November 2013.
- The results of an online survey of the following stakeholder groups: NGOs, the seafood industry, and seafood consumers.
- Additional groups working on human rights that could serve as resources these issues.
This paper on human rights abuses in the seafood industry follows FishWise’s first white paper on seafood traceability. To be updated on FishWise’s latest human rights work and future versions of this report, subscribe to the FishWise Human Rights Mailing List. To inquire about this paper, please email Mariah Boyle.