Fishing is critical for global food security, but challenging to regulate in international waters, leaving workers vulnerable to abuse.
The fishing and aquaculture sector provides nutrition for the world’s growing population and jobs for millions of workers. But the mobile nature of fishing vessels and the difficulty of enforcing regulations at sea leave workers vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, including trafficking, forced labor, and even child labor. Workers involved in processing seafood products, including women and children, also face harsh conditions. Many of these are migrant workers, recruited or trafficked by labor brokers onto vessels and into processing plants. Companies producing and selling seafood products to consumers face increasing pressure to address trafficking and abuse in their supply chains.
WHAT THE CENTER IS DOING
The Center began its work on fishing in January 2016. Through a combination of advocacy and original research, the Center plans to work with companies, governments, and civil society to promote the development of a set of human rights standards and an independent governance mechanism to enforce these standards. The Center advances an approach that: (1) acknowledges the global nature of human rights challenges in the fishing industry; (2) focuses directly on labor issues like recruitment and workers’ rights; (3) extends responsibility to players across the supply chain, including governments, civil society organizations, suppliers, and brands.
The Center is collaborating with Concordia in promoting the development of standards and a governance mechanism in the fishing industry that applies to retailers, as well as their suppliers.