Ethics in seafood

Social responsibility is paramount to Seafish and to the entire seafood industry. For us social responsibility encompasses concerns about labour and human rights issues. This includes human trafficking, labour abuses, child labour, debt bondage, forced labour, migrant workers, and slavery, across the whole supply chain.

Seafish has become actively engaged in this area and has introduced a series of work areas to help the industry achieve the goal of eliminating unethical practices from UK seafood supply chains. These work areas have been agreed by Seafish's three Sector Panels, and demonstrate the commitment the whole UK seafood industry has made to move forward on this issue.

Further information on our work on social responsibility is available in this Seafish briefing note (April 2018)

Research and guides 

Seafish has produced a number of briefing documents and guides, and produces a monthly news bulletin which is sent to all those on the mailing list for the Seafood Ethics Common Language Group. Links to these can be found below. In addition see:

Assessment of ethical issues in the UK supply chain   

We completed a research project to assess the ethical issues impacting on seafood species landed into, and imported to the UK in September 2015. The outputs from this project are available here.

Guidance on drafting a Modern Slavery statement 

To help the seafood industry better understand the reporting requirements under the new Modern Slavery Act Seafish ran an interactive workshop, and has produced a guidance note with more specific information about how companies in the seafood sector might think about the content of their statement.


Seafish has adopted an integrated approach to identifying and addressing risk with a clear process to identify the risk itself and where it can be found, and how to address it.

Tools for Ethical Seafood Sourcing (TESS)

Tools for Ethical Seafood Sourcing (TESS) is an online tool signposting users to numerous online resources and initiatives that support socially responsible business practices. TESS is available online.

Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS)

The Seafish Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS) is a voluntary vessel based standard certifying high standards of crew welfare and responsible catching practices on fishing vessels.
Seafish outreach activities
Seafish is working with stakeholders and attending key events on modern slavery issues, to learn about other initiatives, explain what the UK seafood industry is doing and to raise awareness of our work.

Seafood Ethics Common Language Group

The Seafood Ethics Common Language Group has been set up by Seafish to bring together all sectors of the seafood supply chain to provide a collective response to growing concerns regarding unethical practices within the global seafood market. For further information on the group, or to be added to the mailing list to receive our monthly newsletter (see below), please contact Karen Green.

Social Responsibility in Seafood workshop, Malta. January 2016

Seafish facilitated the pre-summit workshop at the Seaweb Seafood Summit in Malta on Sunday 31 January 2016. The topic was 'Social Responsibility in Seafood'.  

Industry collaboration

Seafood Ethics Action Alliance (SEAA)

The Seafood Ethics Action Alliance has been established by the seafood industry to provide a platform to share information on emerging issues, agree best practice solutions, and provide a forum for collective pre-competitive action where it is not better fulfilled by an existing organisation.