#OceanAction15143
Committing to Social Responsibility in Global Fisheries and Aquaculture
by Conservation International (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
Fisheries and aquaculture employ millions and are critical for food security for 3 billion+ people. Human rights abuses in fisheries have placed social issues at the forefront of sustainability. This commitment will create a sea change in the sector, supporting comprehensive social responsibility through new, cross-sectoral actions to: (1) Protect human rights, dignity, and access to resources; (2) Ensure equality and equitable opportunities to benefit; and (3) Improve food and livelihood security.

Over the past several decades, significant resources have been invested in transitioning fisheries and aquaculture toward environmental sustainability. A similar commitment is now needed for social responsibility in the sector, to protect and improve the lives of millions in the sector and secure the benefits of a healthy and diverse ocean for global humanity. To address this issue, a multi-sectoral coalition of partners developed a comprehensive framework for social responsibility, drawing from a wide range of policy and practice, and supported by a strong basis in international law and policy.

This framework was published in Science (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6341/912) and the Voluntary Commitment is backed by a global partnership including businesses, governments, intergovernmental organizations, and NGO partners, who are collectively committing to drive improvements in social responsibility in the sector. To implement this commitment, these partners are undertaking the following actions, including (but not limited to); (1) Adoption of effective policy and regulatory regimes by governments to protect vulnerable human populations and improve overall social performance in the sector; (2) Establishment of best practices among businesses to incorporate social responsibility in sourcing policy and business practices; (3) Incorporation of social responsibility into existing fisheries and aquaculture initiatives among civil society and nonprofit organizations, including ratings and certification schemes, and supported by the development of robust assessment protocols.

This Voluntary Commitment presents an opportunity for the sector to recognize and embrace that the wellbeing of people and the health of oceans are interdependent. This Voluntary Commitment helps fulfill the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and explicitly links SDG 14 to other SDGs related to poverty, food security, inequality and gender equality, and human health and wellbeing. Notably, this commitment requires that environmental sustainability and social responsibility are addressed together, as these issues are intrinsically linked and joint investments are likely to produce more durable impacts for both people and nature.

#SociallyResponsibleSeafood
14.4
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
  • Compliance, monitoring and enforcement
  • Reduction and elimination fishing practices and gear that destroy/degrade marine habitat
  • Eco-labelling, traceability, certification programmes
  • Other (please specify): Eliminate and/or reduce illegal labor practices and human rights abuses
14.6
By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation
Type of commitment
Quantification
  • Eliminate or greatly reduce illegal human rights and labor violations, which constitute a perverse subsidy in the sector, and are linked to IUU fishing
14.7
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
  • Economic benefits from sustainable fisheries
  • Economic benefits from sustainable aquaculture/mariculture
14.b
Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
Type of commitment
  • Legal/policy/institutional measures
  • Access to coastal fishing grounds
  • Access and capacity building for eco-labelling and traceability systems
  • Community empowerment for fisheries management
December 2017
Global adoption of framework for social responsibility in the seafood sector, with commitments to the framework secured from a diverse set of sector actors, including businesses, non-governmental organizations, governments, intergovernmental organizations, philanthropic and multi-lateral institutions, and civil society organizations to implement the framework
December 2018
Establishment of best practices among businesses to incorporate social responsibility in sourcing policy and business practices
December 2019
Incorporation of social responsibility into existing fisheries and aquaculture initiatives among civil society and nonprofit organizations, including ratings and certification schemes, and supported by the development of robust assessment protocols
December 2020
Adoption of effective policy and regulatory regimes by at least 10 governments in priority locations to protect vulnerable human populations and improve overall social performance in the sector
Staff / Technical expertise
Conservation International, together with Arizona State University and the Nereus Program of Nippon Foundation, is supporting the development of robust assessment protocols for social responsibility, to incorporate evidence-based evaluation into existing
Staff / Technical expertise
This Voluntary Commitment is the result of a multi-year sustained effort by 20+ organizations to define the core components of social responsibility, resulting in a significant alignment among a set of core partners around a shared definition of social re
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Basic information
Time-frame: December 2017 - December 2020
Partners
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs): Conservation International* (lead entity); Monterey Bay Aquarium*; Environmental Defense Fund*; Fair Trade USA*; Fishwise*; Ocean Outcomes*; Sustainable Fisheries Partnership*; Global Aquaculture Alliance*; International Pole and Line Foundation*; Verite (*Organizations that currently collaborate under the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions, a collaboration of NGOs that work with businesses on sustainable seafood (www.solutionsforseafood.org). [Partnership]). Private Sector: ANOVA Food, LLC; Albion Farms and Fisheries; Aramark; Asosiasi Perikanan Pole and Line dan Hand Line; Bon Appetit Management Company; Delaware North Companies, Inc.; Fortune Fish & Gourmet; Green Chef Corporation; Hy-Vee Inc.; Ipswich Shellfish Group; J.J. McDonnel & Co., Inc.; Migros; New England Seafoods International Ltd; Samuels and Son Seafood Co.; Santa Monica Seafood; Sea to Table; Seacore Seafood Inc.; Seattle Fish Company; Service Systems Associates, Inc.; Stavis Seafoods Inc.; SmartFish; The Sustainability Incubator; World Wise Foods. Intergovernmental Agencies: Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). United Nations entity: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Scientific Community: Stanford University, Center for Ocean Solutions; University of Washington, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs; Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program (Philanthropic Organization). Other relevant actor: (Seafood Certification Programs/Schemes): Fair Trade USA; Best Aquaculture Practice.
Ocean Basins
  • Global
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Seafood industry, including fishworkers, supply chain actors, and ocean-dependent communities
Contact information
Jack Kittinger, Senior Director, Global Fisheries and Aquaculture program & Professor of Practice, Arizona State University | Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, jkittinger@conservation.org, +1 808-397-9077
Washington, DC (USA) and Honolulu, Hawaii
Other SDGs
United Nations