FisheryProgress, a leading source of information on fishery improvement projects (FIP) has announced a new interim policy on labor abuse focusing on serious human rights abuses: forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking.
The new policy will have all FIPs featured on the site contain a notification of potential rights abuses if FisheryProgress receives a credible allegation of abuse, according to a release by FishChoice, the NGO that manages FisheryProgress. If a credible allegation is received and confirmed by the organization, the FIP will have 30 days from confirmation to remedy the problem. If the FIP is unable to secure third-party confirmation that it has handled the issue, FisheryProgress will move the FIP to “inactive status” on its website.
“Businesses, conservation organizations, and FIPs trust FisheryProgress for reliable information about how FIPs are responding to issues of concern,” FishChoice CEO Rich Boot said. “Human rights abuses like forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking are a major concern for seafood businesses and other stakeholders.”
The new policy was developed with the input of the FisheryProgress advisory committee, and several international human and labor rights experts, according to the organization. A permanent policy is being planned for release in spring 2020.
“Seafood buyers and their customers get it – a product isn’t sustainable if the workers who produce it, and their families and communities, aren’t sharing in the resulting economic gain,” Boot said. “We’re committed to giving industry, NGOs, and governments the information they need to make responsible choices.”
Other NGOs and nonprofits have welcomed the decision by FisheryProgress to take a firm stance on human rights issues.
“Greenpeace applauds FishChoice’s decision to institute an interim policy on forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking covering all of the Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) listed on its platform, FisheryProgress, though more work remains to develop a strong permanent policy that will ensure long-term change on the water,” Andy Shen, senior oceans adviser for Greenpeace USA, said. “As FisheryProgress covers more than 85 percent of FIPs globally, FishChoice’s policy could significantly reduce human and labor rights abuses in fisheries around the world, and by extension, illegal [fishing] and overfishing. With over 2,000 users, FishChoice’s policy could also catalyze much-needed improvements on human rights due diligence by U.S. buyers.”
According to the release, the permanent policy will address a wide range of social issues that may require “expansions to FisheryProgress’ functionality.”
Photo courtesy of Fishery Progress