Fishing Industry Association (PNG) Inc., (FIA-PNG) members committed to their Responsible Sourcing Policy (RSP) in May 2018, which contains 4 pillars: Social Responsibility and Human Rights (SR&HR) on board is one of them.
In November 2019, the Frabelle fishing group carried out the first SR&HR assessment onboard (2 purse seiners inspected, with 57 crew were interviewed) to set up a baseline for the development of a holistic procedure, training program, and audit tool. RD fishing also carried out the same type of assessment in October 2020 to increase the comprehension of this topic, focused on care for the Crew.
FIA PNG procedure and audit tool development were supported and reviewed by an international stakeholder technical working group that includes; Human Rights at Sea, Conservation International, a Global Tuna Alliance member, and FISHWISE representatives. This stakeholder working group provided critique and feedback to increase the comprehensive approach that is aligned with more than 20 guidance documents, regulations, good practices, and standards-based in ILO convention C188, IMO, and Human Rights conventions that look after the Crew welfare and working conditions.
In September 2021, after almost one year of implementation of this robust due diligence process, FIA PNG tuna fleet members unanimously agreed to apply for the FISH standard certification. FISH (Fairness, Integrity, Safety, and Health) is a third-party labour certification program for crew on fishing vessels developed as a tool for harvesters to provide assurance that their seafood comes from responsible sources with respect to crew treatment, compensation, and onboard conditions. In coordination with FIA PNG fishing companies, the FIA PNG office (FIAO) carried out webinars, capability building, and internal audit assessments.
Right now, 32 tuna purse seiners are engaged in this process and ready for the certification audit on site that will take place in Papua New Guinea in the first week of April 2022. The tuna fleets that will be audited are:
Frabelle Fishing Group - 14 Tuna Purse Seiners
Bluecatch - 2 Tuna Purse Seiners
TPK Trans-Pacific Journey - 8 Tuna Purse Seiners
IFC International Food Corporation - 2 Tuna Purse Seiners
TSP Marine Industry - 6 Tuna Purse Seiners
With an average Crew onboard of 28 crew per tuna purse seiner, this certification process will assess almost 900 Crew working onboard FIA PNG tuna purse seiners operating inside PNG's Archipelagic Waters and its Exclusive Economic Zone fishing area with an MSC tuna availability of 129,000 mt. FIAO continuously monitors and audit the compliance of FIA PNG tuna fleet members.
FIA PNG has added some social responsibility indicators on the almost real-time platform iFlMS integrated Fishing Information Management System. It takes time to do the right thing in a responsible manner. In this way, FIA PNG members are increasing the recognition of their good practices with the people working on the fishery, the natural resources, and the planet.
Industry comments regarding this implementation process and coming certification
- Reduce (hopefully eliminate) Retailer's/ Market's doubt that fishing companies mistreat crew on board. - More people are willing to work on fishing vessels since they know that fishing companies have to follow a certain high standard to be certified.
- Fewer accidents/sickness/(leSs downtime and less cost).
- Improvement of Crew welfare, increase awareness on Crew about their rights and obligations, increase the fishing company management and better engagement with Crew onboard.
- Improve FIA PNG members management system looking at this pillar.
Specific Improvement from the Crew onboard's perspective
- Improvement of Crew welfare, increase awareness on Crew about their rights and obligations, increase the fishing company management a better engagement with Crew onboard.
-Workers will see that fishing companies owners/companies really do indeed care, which is why they agree to these types of audits.
-If there are any non-conformances, these will be seen by the auditing body and this will be remedied by the company
-Workers can be assured that companies look out for their welfare.
About FIA PNG RSP Social Responsibility and Human Rights at Sea https://www.fiapng.com/post/papua-new-guinea-leading-on-crew-welfare-and-social-laborimplementation-in-the-tuna-supplv-chain
About FISH Standard for Crew https://fishstandard.com/about-us/
Any questions please contact:
Marcelo Hidalgo — Sustainability Director of FIA PNG