Norwegian requirements for social sustainability in wild caught fisheries — Seafish

Norwegian requirements for social sustainability in wild caught fisheries

Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF)
Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF) survey to identify standards for social sustainability.

The Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF) was asked by the industry to identify standards for social sustainability and to evaluate whether customers in the seafood market require documentation of social sustainability. They also wished to investigate whether and how the Norwegian seafood industry can utilise good working conditions as a competitive advantage, and if this can be documented in Norwegian fisheries. The primary focus was on the markets in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The project investigated whether requirements concerning social sustainability could become “hygiene requirements” and therefore required for manufacturers in order to secure access to the market.

Social Sustainability in Norwegian Fisheries Evolution and Resilience in Fleet and Industry. May 2019.

The report describes Norwegian laws and legislation, controlling regime, trade union involvement and opportunities for sanctioning violations of human rights, safety and working conditions and social security. Norway is one of a few countries which have ratified and fully incorporated ILO 188 into laws and legislations. Onshore, the Working Environment Act is one of many legislations tightly regulating safety, security, obligations and conditions for the workforce in Norwegian industry. In addition, the onshore industry is covered by an extended collective agreement, which secures the minimum wage. The results show that Norway has a system that covers most social sustainability issues mentioned in international agreements. It is undeniable that Norwegian workforce rights are significantly stronger than in most other countries. There is no indication of violations of the serious elements, i.e. slavery, trafficking or child labour. However, there are some challenging areas, especially concerning foreign labour. Authorities and trade unions are continuously working on improvements within documentation, communication and prevention.

Significance for seafood businesses:

This is a scheme to benchmark the various standards that apply to the seafood sector to help stakeholders understand the differences between them. Sourcing seafood that is accredited to a standard that has a social component provides reassurance that the seafood you are purchasing has been independently verified concerning social issues.

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