Seafish response to the Seafood Slavery Risk Tool

09 February 2018

In early February 2018 Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), Liberty Asia and Seafood Watch launched the Seafood Slavery Risk Tool (SSRT) to help seafood businesses to identify human rights risks in their supply chains. 

Although Seafish had previously worked with the SSRT partners to develop a prototype human rights risk tool, Seafish has no association with the SSRT.

Our involvement in the forerunner of SSRT came to an end in autumn 2017 in response to concerns that Seafish had identified with the earlier prototype's veracity. These concerns focused on the rigour and robustness of the methodology behind the tool, the objectivity of the information used to inform the tool, and the accuracy of the subsequent risk assessment results the tool produced. 

In September 2017 when it became apparent that it would not be possible to address these concerns, Seafish mutually agreed with the other participants to exit the project prior to the launch of the tool.

Seafish has worked proactively to improve supply chain integrity across the seafood sector for over five years. The work of Seafish in this area includes raising industry awareness of ethical issues and supporting seafood businesses to comply with the UKs Modern Slavery legislation. We recognise that this is a complex issue and that awareness and practical guidance is the best way to effect change, at all levels of the supply chain. As a public body, Seafish works closely with enforcement agencies to improve understanding of issues and to ensure action is taken when problems are identified. 

The Seafish approach to promote responsible sourcing across the supply chain  is to educate, improve understanding and develop capability within the seafood sector. Through our Ethics Common Language Group we provide a forum for industry, government, NGOs and the research sector to share information and practical solutions to tackle unacceptable ethical trading practices.  The Seafish Ethical Seafood Sourcing (TESS) Tool is an online facility that signposts users to numerous resources and initiatives that support responsible sourcing and ethical trading business practices. 

Seafish also recognises that risk tools can only take us so far and it is vital that the seafood industry continues to work together to improve transparency and make a positive change.

There is no place in the UK supply chain, regardless of the origin of the product, for employment practices that negatively impact on an individual's human rights. It is vital that Seafish and the seafood industry continue to work proactively to ensure that such abhorrent behaviour of the minority does not tarnish the reputation of the rest of the industry which has made significant strides in sustainable fisheries development and responsible sourcing.