NOAA initiative targets illegal labour practices
Wednesday, August 17, 2022, 07:00 (GMT + 9)
NOAA Fisheries is about to pursue public-private partnerships through CALM-CS to accelerate efforts toward ending forced labour and improving working conditions across the seafood sector.
NOAA Fisheries has announced a new public-private initiative—the Collaborative Accelerator for Lawful Maritime Conditions in Seafood. This will promote legal and safe working conditions, including combating forced labour, in the fishing and seafood industries.
While devastating for the victims and their families, illegal and inhumane working conditions in the seafood sector, such as forced labour also contribute to destabilisation of maritime security and supply chains, as well as the degradation of fisheries and broader marine ecosystems.
In a recent National Security Memorandum on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Associated Labor Abuses, President Biden reinforced the commitment of the US government to fight labour abuses in the seafood sector. He also called for agencies to increase their collaboration with non-governmental partners to develop comprehensive approaches to combat these conditions. This initiative responds to this call.
NOAA recently convened stakeholders at a collaborative summit – A Call to Action: Ending Forced Labor and Promoting Decent Work in the Seafood Sector.
Senior officials from the Departments of Commerce, State, Labor, U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Agency for International Development met with representatives of businesses, humanitarian groups, and government agencies. They discussed collaborative approaches to support decent working conditions in the seafood sector.
‘By coming together to address illegal labour practices, we can have a positive impact on seafood industry workers and families around the world, and help ensure the stability of the broader seafood supply chain,’ said US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, reflecting on the summit.
This initiative aims to focus on steps that can be taken outside the government to address this complex and complicated issue. The initial work of participants will be to develop clearly articulated, time-bound, and achievable deliverables under each of the priority areas. These deliverables should result in meaningful progress toward reducing forced labor in the seafood industry.
The initiative is open to participants from all relevant sectors – workers, harvesters, processors, retailers, brokers, NGOs, and think tanks. Experts from other sectors with experience in addressing labor issues may also participate in meetings and other initiatives on an ad-hoc basis.
Author: Quentin Bates / FiskerForum