New Organization to Provide Labor Certification for Fishing Vessels

Washington D.C. – Developed by a diverse group of experts in fish harvesting with consultation from labour non-profit organisations, the FISH Standard for Crew is developing a voluntary, independent and accredited third-party certification program for labour practices on vessels in wild-capture fisheries. The name “FISH” represents the scope of the standard: Fairness, Integrity, Safety and Health.

The FISH Standard is designed to ensure that fish sold in markets, grocery stores and restaurants around the world is harvested by crews who are recruited and hired ethically, treated with respect on the vessel, paid properly, and have fair processes to address grievances. The FISH Standard certification will be open to wild-capture harvesters of all sizes.

FISH has an eleven-person Board of Directors, Chaired by Fridrik Fridriksson, Chief Human Resources Officer at Brim. FISH also has a nine-person Standards Oversight Committee (SOC) that developed and updates the audit standards. The FISH Standard draws on the experiences of individuals who helped develop international agreements on labour practices. Members of the FISH Board and SOC represent nearly every corner of the globe, bringing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences in fisheries and labour to the table.

“While most seafood companies work ethically and in line with various labour standards and protocols, both legal and voluntary, to ensure proper treatment of crews, there have been challenges and bad actors in the industry,” said Fridriksson. “Media reports have shined a spotlight on these issues and highlighted the fact that everyone harvesting seafood deserves fair and equitable treatment. The FISH Standard provides a credible, worldwide standard to ensure proper treatment of crews, like you see with third-party certifiers of food safety.”

The FISH Standard supports United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8, which promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

“Governments, industry participants and civil society all have critical roles to play in ensuring that people are treated fairly and have safe and decent working conditions,” said FISH Board member, Matt Tinning, Director of Sustainability and Public Affairs for the At-sea Processors Association. “In tandem with other initiatives, we believe the development of a uniform labour standard that seafood buyers can trust is an important step, and has the potential to become a key component of global seafood assurance.”

The FISH Standard provides a needed independent, third-party global certification that makes fair labour a key component in any sourcing discussion. Look for more information on the 60-day public consultation period for the FISH Standard opening soon.