Forced and child labour

The MSC condemns forced and child labour and supports global efforts to eradicate it in fisheries and seafood supply chains.

Forced and child labour is an industry-wide issue with no quick or easy solution.

The MSC standards themselves remain solely focussed on environmental performance, sustainability and traceability of wild captured seafood. However, we share the widespread concerns regarding social issues in the seafood industry and are working with other organisationsto find practical solutions.

We continuously improve our program, including incorporate existing labour auditing schemes and transparency measures.

What has the MSC done about forced labour?

In 2014,  we introduced a labour policy that excludes any entities prosecuted for forced labour violations in the previous two years from our program.

Following multi-stakeholder consultations with more than 300 organisations between 2016-2018, we introduced  further requirements for MSC certified businesses:

Labour practices at sea

In August 2018, we introduced new requirements to provide transparency of labour practices at sea. 

All MSC certified fisheries and at-sea supply chains are now required to report publicly on the measures they are taking to address forced and child labour. These statements can be found on Track a Fishery. 

Labour practices in supply chains

In March 2019, the MSC introduced labour auditing for MSC and ASC certified seafood supply chains. 

The labour practices of  Chain of Custody certificate holders is being reviewed. Certificate holders undergo an audit for a recognised third party labour program, or submit a self-assessment to the MSC.  Following self-assessment, the MSC has the right to commission an full independent audit of a certificate holders operations.

These requirements provide seafood buyers and consumers with greater assurance that companies involved in processing and packing MSC and ASC certified seafood are not involved in forced or child labour.

Further improvements

We continue to work with other organisations that are engaged in developing measures to address human and labour rights issues within the seafood industry.

This includes investigating the use of grievance mechanisms , to give workers greater redress against labour violations. Wider adoption of grievance mechanism globally would strengthen seafood workers' protection.

More about our work

Our approach

Our approach

Our approach means everyone can play a part in that future while enjoying fish and seafood, not avoiding them.

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At-sea monitoring and surveillance

At-sea monitoring and surveillance

The collection of high-quality data on fishing activities, which has been recorded at sea, is a key part of effective fishery management.

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Our collective impact

Our collective impact

For over 20 years fisheries, scientists, consumers and industry have been part of a collective effort to make sure our oceans are fished sustainably.

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