United Nations Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum, Asia-Pacific
Side Session | 6 June
Bigger Fish to Fry: Human rights due diligence in the seafood sector
Organized by Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR), Seafood Legacy, ELEVATE
Around the world, seafood production supports million’s of peoples’ livelihoods and provides protein for more than billions of people. Yet significant social responsibility challenges exist in the supply chains of the fisheries and aquaculture sector globally, supported by a growing body of evidence from civil society organizations, media reports and by government. In the fisheries sector, wild catch by commercial fishing vessels has significant impacts on workers, including migrant workers, as well as on coastal communities and small-scale fishers who rely on fishing for their livelihoods. Fish processing impacts workers of which a percentage is female, and is differently impacted. Aquaculture operations have impacts on workers as well as communities including small scale producers. While these impacts have been widely documented and known, human rights due diligence practices in the seafood sector are still lacking behind.
About the session
This session aims to discuss the human rights challenges that exist in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors globally and then zoom into specific countries and sectors across Asia-Pacific. Through a panel with representatives ranging from civil society, the private sector intergovernmental organizations and NHRIs from Indonesia, Fiji, Japan and the Philippines we will discuss what the main impacts and challenges are of large scale seafood business, and what good human rights due diligence practices should look like. We will also discuss the role of the State and other stakeholders in light of upcoming mandatory due diligence legislation, where fisheries is considered a high risk sector, as well as the role of operational grievance mechanisms in supporting human rights due diligence in the sector.
We will conclude the session with proposed steps and a roadmap for a more responsible and sustainable seafood sector that is respectful of its workers, communities and surrounding environment.
The main objectives of this session are to:
Share examples of good human rights due diligence (HRDD) practices in the Asia-Pacific fisheries and aquaculture sectors
Share relevant tools, methodologies and guidance on HRDD in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors
Provide a roadmap for improved human rights due diligence in the seafood sector
Panelists will reflect on the following questions:
- Could you introduce yourself and your organization and how you have worked on fisheries and human rights in your country?
Acquaculture and fisheries has been identified as a high risk sector in the EU’s proposed mandatory human rights due diligence law.
What are some of the specific challenges and barriers to conducting effective human rights due diligence in the acquaculture and fisheries sector?
How can we overcome these challenges, and could you share any good practices of adequate human rights due diligence in the fiserhies sector in your country?
What are some good practices or methods to identify forced labour risks in the seafood sector?
How can we promote meaningful worker engagement as part of human rights due diligence in the seafood sector?
What are the limitations of seafood certifications, labels, and standards as a tool to identify human rights risks, and what else is needed to complement these?
Having seen the impacts of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in your country, what in your opinion is needed for the fisheries sector to respect human rights, and what role can CSOs, NHRIs, the private sector, and intergovernmental organizations play?