Celebrated annually on 21 November, World Fisheries Day, is dedicated to highlighting the critical importance of healthy ocean ecosystems and sustainable fisheries.
At Simplot, we have established a partnership with Pacifical, who are the Pacific Region leaders in promoting sustainably and socially responsibly caught skipjack and yellowfin tuna. Together, we are committed to upholding the human rights of workers throughout our operations and supply chain.
Pacifical is a co-operative between eight Pacific Ocean nations (PNA) and the company, Sustunable Bv, founded in 2011. They promote sustainable fisheries management initiatives and increase the socio-economic benefits from tuna fisheries in the region. Their supply chain offers a unique, fully traceable chain of custody of every fish caught which provides Simplot with assurance that the vessels catching John West tuna meets our sustainability and human rights standards.
We acknowledge the potential for workers in the fishing industry to be exposed to exploitation due to the challenging environment of working at sea. In some instances, there can be inadequate living facilities onboard the vessels, physically dangerous working conditions, lack of safety equipment, and excessive working hours and low wages. These are all things we aim to address through our partnership with Pacifical. From the moment the fish is caught to the packing and processing of the raw material and distribution of the final product, we strive to mitigate any risks of human rights violations every step of the way.
Pacifical employs trained observers to the Pacific Island Regional Observer Program standard to be the eyes and ears at sea. Their role includes monitoring compliance, collecting data and reporting on the working and living conditions aboard vessels fishing within PNA waters. While their primary purpose is to report on the sustainability of fishing practices, their training and role also includes reporting on any potential human rights breaches that may affect the crew or themselves. Watch this short video to learn more about the Observers:
The PNA/Pacifical Social Accountability Guidelines outline the human rights standards that fishing companies catching tuna for Pacifical must enforce. The guidelines include clauses to ensure that no forced, bonded or child labour is used onboard, no harsh or inhumane treatment is used as a disciplinary measure, acceptable living and working conditions and decent employment with fair remuneration and benefits is provided.
If an Observer identifies any instance that may breach the Social Accountability Guidelines, they will include their observations in the Trip Compliance Record and electronically report it to PNA. The report is later reviewed by their supervisor on land. Where a serious incident is reported, it will be investigated and if substantiated, action is taken to remediate the issue which may include prosecution under national laws. These incidents are also reported to the Regional Fisheries Management Organisation. Additionally, an MSC Certificate will not be issued on the fish caught from that trip and the vessel may face penalties including potential suspension from the PNA MSC scheme. To date, there have been no reported instances of human rights violations through our partnership with Pacifical.
Simplot is committed to increasing our visibility of human rights issues and remediating any issues when they are found throughout our operations and supply chain. We are proud to partner with Pacifical to help us achieve this goal of upholding human rights and continuing to improve practices.