On Thursday 25th March 2021, the CGF Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI) Senior Manager, Thomas van Haaren, joined a cross-sector dialogue focused on current issues regarding responsible labour practices in the seafood industry. The session, entitled “Standards and At-Sea Labour Practices,” was hosted by the Seafood Ethics Common Language Group (SECLG), a forum facilitated by Seafish.

Representing the SSCI and in particular its At-Sea Operations scope, which is being developed in partnership with the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI), van Haaren was joined by Mike Kraft, FISH (Fairness, Integrity, Safety and Health) Standard; Mike Platt, GSA (Global Seafood Assurances); and Kristin Sherwood, FishChoice.

The “bite-sized” dialogue discussed how a number of voluntary standards certifying responsibly sourced seafood products are rapidly growing. However, with this rise in certification programmes, expectations on the appropriate topics to cover vary greatly across the sector. Van Haaren explained that while the GSSI offers a benchmark for environmental standards in the fishing sector, none exists for social standards. The SSCI’s forthcoming At-Sea Operations (ASO) benchmark will therefore fill an important yet missing element of ensuring supply chain sustainability in the sector. Van Haaren explained the three key themes of the ASO benchmark focus on minimum age expectations, forced labour detection, and specifics related to the size of a given fishing operation (fleets versus independent or artisanal vessels). He also explained the scope’s development progress, and invited the audience to stay tuned for more details about the scope’s official launch event scheduled for mid-May.

For more details about the SSCI’s work to develop a social benchmark for the seafood sector with the GSSI, click here.