Thailand announces regulations to rid forced labor from seafood supply chain
The government of Thailand has struck an agreement with a coalition of seafood companies and associations designed to eliminate forced labor and human trafficking from within the country’s seafood supply chain.
Major players in the Thai fishing industry agreed to sign a memorandum-of-understanding (MOU) with the Thai Government’s Command Center for Combating Illegal Fishing on January 15, 2016, pledging to prevent seafood products to be sold to their seafood processing facilities that come from illegal fishing or that were harvested via illegal labor practices or human trafficking. Signatories to the MOU include Thai Union Group, the National Fishery Association of Thailand, the Thai Frozen Food Association, the Thai Overseas Fishery Association and the Thai Tuna Industry Association, according to a press release from the Thai government. The agreement was officially announced Monday, February 1.
The announcement is the latest in a series of regulatory moves by Thailand to crack down on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and alleged human rights and labor abuses chronicled in several media outlets over the past two years. In November 2015, the Thai government passed the IUU Fishing Enforcement Act, aligning the country’s fishing standards with those of the European Union. In December 2015, it passed rules raising living standards onboard commercial fishing boats, and on January 14, 2016, the Ministry of Labor Regulation prohibited workers under 18 years of age from working in seafood processing factories.
Other signatories to the latest MOU include Charoen Pokphand Foods, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Thai Federation of Industries, the Thai Bankers Association and the Thai Fishery Producers Coalition (TFPC), which includes the Thai Frozen Food Association, the Thai Food Processors’ Association, the Thai Shrimp Association, the Thai Fishmeal Association and theThai Fishmeal Producer Association.