ISSF adds social and labor standards to membership requirements

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) has added new labor and social standards to its requirements for member companies, which include tuna processors, traders, importers, transporters, marketers, and more.

The new standard – Conservation Measure 9.1 Public Policy on Social and Labor Standards – will require any business associated with ISSF to develop, and publish, social and labor standards and/or a sourcing policy that applies to the entire supply chain, which addresses forced labor; child labor; freedom of association; wages, benefits, and employment contracts; working hours; health and safety; discrimination, harassment, and abuse; and grievance mechanisms. The policy must be public – meaning it must be at a minimum available to the general public.

“With the announcement of this conservation measure, ISSF is pleased to formalize our commitment to social and labor standards in global tuna fisheries, a topic we have increasingly supported as our work toward sustainable fisheries has evolved,” ISSF President Susan Jackson said. “Conservation Measure 9.1 Public Policy on Social and Labor Standards joins the now dozens of ISSF conservation measures for sustainability best practices. With the majority of the world’s canned tuna processing capacity conforming to these measures — and with major tuna companies being transparently audited against them — we are driving unique and positive change across the world’s tuna fisheries.”

The tuna industry has come under attention for forced labor in recent years, and the U.S. recently added the Chinese distant water fishing industry to the List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor. Chinese distant-water vessels, the report claims, are using forced labor to catch tuna, which is shipped hope to China for either domestic consumption or processing for sale to foreign buyers.

ISSF participating tuna companies represent the majority of the world’s canned tuna production, including Thai Union, StarKist, Bumble Bee, Princes, and more.  

Photo courtesy of Primie Villa Parcon/Shutterstock


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