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Seafood council implements new requirements to tackle issue of child labour in the industry

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has implemented new requirements for seafood suppliers and processors to prevent forced labour in the industry.

The council has introduced independent audits of labour practices for supply chain companies once the council establishes there’s a risk of forced or child labour practices within the seafood companies.

“Around the world, more than 150 million children and 25 million adults are involved in forced labour. We recognise the urgency in addressing forced and child labour violations and have put measures in place to tackle this issue in the supply chain for certified seafood. This update to our supply chain requirements will provide seafood buyers and consumers with greater assurances that companies involved in processing and packing MSC and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified seafood do not employ forced or child labour,” Dr Yemi Oloruntuyi, head of Accessibility at the MSC said.

The council said that it provides seafood buyers and consumers with “confidence in the traceability and integrity of the supply chain for both MSC and ASC certified seafood.”

There are over 4,500 seafood companies and subcontractors, in more than 45,000 sites in 100 countries worldwide, that are certified to sell seafood stamped with the MSC and/or ASC labels.

To determine if a labour audit is necessary, a supply chain company will be assessed to know what level of risk it presents involving labour violations that occurs during processing, packing or repacking and manual offloading in the country or countries they operate in.

All auditors are required to implement the updated MSC Chain of Custody Standard from the September 28, 2019. For organisations that already hold an MSC Chain of Custody certificate, the updated Standard must be applied at the first audit after this date and allows a 12-month grace period to implement a labour audit.

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