Fishing boat Fish trawler

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Key seafood sourcing countries like the US, China and Japan, have yet to ratify the International Labour Organization Working in Fishing Convention

The Seafood Ethics Action Alliance has called on countries to improve labour standards in fishing.

The alliance of UK retailers and seafood businesses is asking labour ministers of key seafood sourcing countries, such as the US, the Maldives, Korea, Indonesia, and Ireland to make progress in ratifying the International Labour Organization Working in Fishing Convention.

The agreement is designed to protect the rights of fishers and ensure safe working conditions with requirements on occupational safety and health, rest periods, written work agreements and social security protection.

It also provides for regulation of the recruitment process and investigation of complaints by fishers.

Only a few countries have ratified the convention meaning many workers for SEA Alliance member companies are not covered by these protections.

Following Spain’s decision to ratify the convention earlier this year, the alliance is now calling for others to follow suit.

The group has also convened a meeting of retailers, seafood businesses, trade union representatives and NGOs at the Global Seafood Expo in Barcelona this week to launch the development of a new set of commitment that will “provide a clear anchor-point around which retailers and seafood businesses can coalesce in a joint mission”.

They will also focus specifically on advancing human rights and labour standards in seafood supply chain.