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The Fairly Traded Fish and Seafood Initiative

Launched by German Fair Trade e.V. at the Bremen 2000 Seafood Fair, the Fairly Traded Fish and Seafood Initiative was geared towards improving the living and working conditions of marine artisanal fishworkers through economic incentives provided by a more direct linkage with Fair Trade buyers.24

The initiative failed because the partner organizations25 experienced a wide range of problems related to maintaining the quality of fresh fish exports; logistics/transport; documentation; matching supplies of products/species demanded in Europe and irregular supplies.26


Fair-Fish is domiciled in Switzerland and was founded in January 2000 by animal welfare organizations.  It is currently (since 2004) involved with a project in Senegal to export “fair fish” from Senegalese coastal fisherfolk to Europe. The first small imports from Senegal began in March 2006 for direct marketing to Migros in Switzerland. In April 2007, the Fair-Fish labeled fishery in Senegal was certified against Fair-Fish directives (a mix of social and animal welfare criteria) by the Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), and by Friend of the Sea. Fair-Fish has been concentrating its efforts in the disadvantaged region of the Saloum area, in the far south of Senegal, next to the northern border of Gambia.

The scheme has not been financially self-sustaining and recent developments suggest that the project could be abandoned during 2007.

The Max Havelaar Foundation

The foundation awards a quality label to products that have been produced according to principles of fair trade. Through fair trade, it contributes to improving the living and working conditions of small farmers and agricultural workers in disadvantaged regions.

It is a member of the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations (FLO) and complies with their international fair trade standards. Reported27 to be interested in fish products.


See Appendix E.

Social Accountability International (SAI)

SAI strives to improve workplaces and combat sweatshops through the expansion and further development of the international workplace standard, Social Accountability 8000 (SA8000) and the associated S8000 verification/certification system.

International Labor Organization

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has a Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.  At the 92nd Session of the International Labor Conference (ILC), the Committee on the Fishing Sector debated the issue of a new fishing standard. This was within the context of revising pre-1985 ILO Conventions (binding for countries that ratify them) and Recommendations (not binding, but providing guidance), in order to update and strengthen the standards-setting system of the ILO. The ILO Conventions relevant to fishing were adopted in 1959 and 1966, while the relevant Recommendations were adopted in 1920 and 1966. On 14 June 2007, The ILO adopted new rules to ensure adequate conditions for the estimated 30 million workers involved in the fisheries industry.  The convention adopted by an overwhelming majority at the ILO’s conference covers improved safety and health care at sea, sufficient rest, proper social protection and living conditions on board vessels.

24 Mathew, S. 2000. Sustainable development and social well-being: Which approach for fish trade? Bridges Magazine. Geneva, ICTSD.

25 SIFFS (India) and CNPS/CREDETIP (Senegal).

26 Source: The International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) and the South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies (SIFFS).

27 Personal Communication, ICSF, 2007.



The convention will come into effect when it is ratified by ten of the ILO’s 180 members, including eight coastal nations.28

Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI)

A multistakeholder alliance in the UK. It has a tripartite structure in which NGOs, unions and the private sector are represented. The ETI focuses on ethical sourcing by companies,29 in particular retail chains. Members of this initiative are “committed to business ethics and corporate responsibility, promotion of worker rights and human rights in general.  In employment, ethical business includes working towards the ending of child labor, forced labor, and sweatshops, looking at health and safety, labor conditions and labor rights”. The ETI is relevant where firms selling fish have adopted the ETI base code; Companies that are members of ETI are expected to adopt and implement the code and monitor and report their use of it in their supply chain.

Codes of practice are in place but there is no certification.

The International Federation for Alternative Trade (IFAT)

This is an international network of Fair Trade organizations.  IFAT’s membership includes some 111 producer groups, export marketing organizations and brands in 35 Latin American, African and Asian countries.  It includes 15 Fair Trade organizations in the United States and Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan; in Europe it includes 3 000 Fair Trade shops (“World Shops”) affiliated to the Network of European World Shops30 (NEWS!) and 53 Fair Trade organizations in 11 European countries, including the European Fair Trade Association (EFTA).

EFTA is a network of 11 Fair Trade organizations in nine European countries.  Most schemes involve certification.

Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO)

Established in 1997, this is an association of 20 labelling initiatives that promote and market the Fairtrade Certification Mark in their countries.

FLO members currently operate in 15 European countries as well as in Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Mexico (associate member) and the United States.

Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI)

Launched in 1999, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices were the first global indices to track the financial performance of leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide. Based on the cooperation of Dow Jones Indices, STOXX Limited and SAM they provide asset managers with reliable and objective benchmarks to manage sustainability portfolios. Currently 56 DJSI licenses are held by asset managers in 14 countries to manage a variety of financial products including active and passive funds, certificates and segregated accounts. In total, these licensees presently manage over €4 billion based on the DJSI. The indices are based on a weighted score of a wide range of criteria that include economic, environmental and social issues; in the case of the latter in the form of corporate citizenship/philanthropy, stakeholder engagement, labour practice indices, human capital development, social reporting, standards for suppliers etc.

Member companies are almost exclusively those based in the developed world.

See Appendix E

28 Source: ICSF.

29 Retail members include ASDA, J. Sainsbury, Marks & Spencer and Tesco.

30 None containing fish products as far as we are aware.

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