Greenpeace has worked for years to curb injustices such as forced labor in the fishing industry. Greenpeace USA Senior Oceans Advisor Andy Shen discussed the causes Greenpeace is taking up regarding these injustices on America’s Work Force Union Podcast.
The Taiwanese fishing industry is notorious for various questionable labor practices such as 20-hour work days, forced labor and more. Shen said Greenpeace is working to have this behavior officially documented and companies held accountable for these practices.
Poor labor practices in the commercial fishing industry
Shen began by talking about forced labor in the East and Southeast Asian fishing industries. He introduced a Department of Labor (DOL) report that identifies good such as fish produced by forced labor or child labor in countries around the world.
He said the DOL routinely left Taiwan off the list because it only included fishing that occurred in national waters.
Working alongside the AFL-CIO and other labor human rights and environmental organizations, Greenpeace managed to convince the DOL to add distant water fishing to their report. This new category saw Taiwan and China be added to the list.
Shen said while this is a win in the fight against forced labor, they are now working on other ways to scrutinize companies using these practices.
When seafood is packaged it is sometimes labeled with information – or information can be found online – about where the seafood was caught, the equipment used, and the country the vessel was registered in (the flag). Shen and Greenpeace are working to have companies also provide information on the workers, their recruitment, and labor conditions on the fishing vessels.
Bumble Bee Seafood
Shen said Greenpeace has been eyeing San Diego based seafood company, Bumble Bee Seafood.
He said that while this is a U.S. company, they are continuing to condone poor labor practices on the Taiwanese fishing vessels that supply the fish they sell. Hiding under the protection of their Taiwanese parent company, FCF Co., Bumble Bee continues to do little to prevent seafood produced using forced from entering into their supply chain.
Shen said Greenpeace is closely eyeing FCF Co. and is working to increase their standards in hope it will increase the standards of the entire industry in the region.