Social Responsibility in Fisheries

Fish is one of the world’s most traded food commodities with millions of people depending on fisheries as a source of jobs, income and livelihoods. In 2016, FAO data indicates that 59 million people were directly engaged in the primary sector of capture fisheries and aquaculture. 

Numerous international and national initiatives are now calling for increased social responsibility and improvements of social and labour conditions in fisheries value chains. Such initiatives are increasingly supported by governments, non-governmental organizations, industry, certification schemes and international governmental organizations and agencies. 

In particular, the media has highlighted cases of labour rights violations and human rights abuses, found to take place at different stages of the fisheries’ value chain – especially in fish harvesting, farming and processing stages.

As a result of the increased awareness, industry associations, labour unions and policymakers have undertaken initiatives aiming to address current weaknesses, seeking remedies and improving performance through increased monitoring, transparency, traceability and certification. 

My approach shifts from the basis of screening from attempting to prove or to disprove forced labour conditions in supply chains toward establishing system fundamentals for human rights due diligence.