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Ethics to Take Centre Stage at World Seafood Congress

7 August 2015, at 1:00am

UK - Human rights and ethical issues in the seafood industry will be addressed at next months World Seafood Congress (WSC) in Grimsby, a first for this international conference.

Following last year’s exposés into human trafficking and forced labour in the Thai shrimp supply chain, human rights has become a focal point of conversations within the seafood industry globally.

The WSC will aim to address a range of social and sustainability challenges during a dedicated seafood ethics session on the opening day. Expert speakers from the UK and the US will lead the discussion around topics including ethical practice and the prevention of human rights abuse.

Libby Woodhatch, head of advocacy at Seafish, the UK industry authority hosting the congress, will open the session with a speech on social challenges in the seafood supply chain, and explain how Seafish’s Responsible Fishing Scheme, an initiative developed to raise standards in the catching sector, is working to combat such issues.

Another first for this year’s conference is Seafish Consultant Roger Plant's session, which will reveal the findings of a research project aimed at assessing the ethical issues affecting some of the seafood imported into the UK. The results of this complex project will provide a comprehensive description and analysis of ethical concerns at play within a wide range of countries that supply the UK seafood market and will be used to generate a risk assessment tool for seafood buyers.

Closing the session, Mariah Boyle, Traceability Division Director at US seafood NGO FishWise, will discuss the protection of labour rights for those working in the industry. Boyle will advise delegates of the measures that can be taken to address social issues at various stages of the international supply chain.

Tom Pickerell, technical director at Seafish, said: “Sadly, in some areas of the world, unethical practices in the seafood industry are present. It’s important that these issues are robustly addressed and that those operating in the sector work together to improve working conditions and protect those at risk.

“I look forward to seeing how these sessions will encourage the industry to bring about change and create a sustainable, ethical future for operators across the world.”

Registration for the congress is open and interested parties can sign up at: http://www.wsc2015.com/

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