Labour Practices and Sustainability in the Seafood Industry

In early March, the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions  released the first update since 2008 to its Common Vision for Sustainable Seafood ,  a widely-used best-practices guide used by the North American food industry.  New in the 2016 edition are strong prescriptions for labour rights and traceability of the supply chain.  From the preamble:  “…socially responsible seafood ensures that sourcing does not impact the food security of vulnerable communities, provides a living wage for workers in seafood supply chains, and supports the sustainable livelihoods and cultural heritage of communities.”  Specific steps are outlined, including: “ Establish effective grievance mechanisms for labor abuses and worker safety that meet the minimum standards set forth in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and include a meaningful role for workers themselves in the monitoring of workplace conditions and resolving disputes. • Develop corrective action plans with suppliers found to violate human or labor rights.• Include requirements in purchasing agreements and contracts that suppliers will respect fundamental labor rights, including freedom of association and right to collective bargaining, and will pay workers a living wage.”  The Association website also includes a Social Resource Centre   , with links to all the major organizations and documents relating to sustainability and  core labour standards in the fisheries industry.

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