New FISH Standard for Crew offers labor certification for global fishing vessels

A new, accredited third-party certification program, the FISH Standard for Crew, seeks to ensure that fish sold all around the world is harvested by crews who are ethically hired, treated with respect, paid properly, and allowed fair access to address grievance.

Developed by a diverse group of experts in fish harvesting, with added insight from various labor non-profit organizations, the voluntary and independent standard will be open to wild-capture harvesters of all sizes. Its scope is built upon four pillars represented by the name "FISH": fairness, integrity, safety, and health.

An 11-person board of directors currently oversees the FISH initiative, with Brim Chief Human Resources Officer Fridrik Fridriksson serving as chair. A standards oversight committee, comprised of nine people, develops and updates audit protocols for FISH. Members of the board and oversight committee “represent nearly every corner of the globe, bringing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences in fisheries and labor to the table,” according to a press release announcing FISH’s development.

The FISH Standard for Crew seeks to offer credible assurances that global crews are receiving equitable treatment, Fridriksson said.

“While most seafood companies work ethically and in line with various labor standards and protocols, both legal and voluntary, to ensure proper treatment of crews, there have been challenges and bad actors in the industry,” Fridriksson said. “Media reports have shined a spotlight on these issues and highlighted the fact that everyone harvesting seafood deserves fair and equitable treatment. The FISH Standard provides a credible, worldwide standard to ensure proper treatment of crews, like you see with third-party certifiers of food safety.”

The standard developers said it supports United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8, which fosters sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.

“Governments, industry participants, and civil society all have critical roles to play in ensuring that people are treated fairly and have safe and decent working conditions,” Matt Tinning, the director of sustainability and public affairs for the At-sea Processors Association and a FISH board member, said. “In tandem with other initiatives, we believe the development of a uniform labour standard that seafood buyers can trust is an important step, and has the potential to become a key component of global seafood assurance.”

 A 60-day public consultation period, which will contain detailed information on the standard, is opening soon.


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