Labor standards key source of new business in the fisheries sector for certification firm
Labor standards are the biggest source of new business in the fisheries sector for McAllister Elliott & Partners (MEP), a United Kingdom-based certification firm, according to Max Goulden, the company's managing director. MEP is a fisheries-focused consultancy partly owned by the Dutch-based certification firm Control Union.
Asian fishery firms are increasingly calling in certification companies on private consultancy work in order to head off any potential problems with Western clients, according to Elliott.
“They’re asking us to take a look at their vessels,” Goulden said.
Assessing vessels for labor standards is very difficult, said Goulden.
"That’s why there’s no [certifiable] standard … They’re very difficult to monitor at sea and often when it reaches port maybe there’s [workers] on it.”
The bulk of certification work at MEP/Control Union is driven by Western retailers, according to Goulden. Among the issues cropping up among clients there’s much chatter on plastics.
“There is as yet no standard on plastics,” Goulden said. “Retailers get scared of it. No one yet has an answer on how to manage plastics [in the seafood industry].”
Goulden, however, can see new standards evolving to take pollutants like plastic into account, as well as the fuel products involved in seafood production.