What Steps Can I Take? 

 

First and foremost, congratulations! We’ve made it to Christmas and thus I wish you a joyful Merry Christmas and a grand closing, of what may be the near end of another year. To celebrate this season of giving, festivities, and finally that break we’ve all been waiting for, let’s celebrate in moving forward to active steps we can all contribute to ensuring a confident practice towards safe seafood.  

 

Throughout these past twelve days I have learnt a number of steps of action that have helped me ensure ethical seafood options are being practiced, here are my top 3:  

 

  1. Know where to buy slave-free seafood 

Knowing which shops, supermarkets, and seafood brands track their seafood supply chains and promote sustainable human rights, have helped me ensure that I am buying from ethically traded seafood markets. Supermarket chains like Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and Harris Farm Markets work hard to keep our seafood traffic free by tracking the exact location where the seafood products are caught. This allows the protection and surveillance of safe fishermen, entitled to their human rights and ethical labor, void of exploitation.  

 

This can be as simple as knowing, which canned Tuna products to purchase through Greenpeace’s www.changeyourtuna.org.au. Greenpeace has made it simple for us to access Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, supporting products like “Fish 4 Ever” and “John West”, whom promote ethical seafood labour, good traceability, and committed to sustainable fishing. By supporting these brands and supermarkets, we can not only fight for marine conservation, but also promote businesses that are ensuring human rights and good work ethics are being recognised.  

 

2. Raise awareness & be aware 

Modern slavery affects us all. To further promote our earthly matters, let’s help support those who lack human rights and are vulnerable in the seafood industry. With recent promotions of the Australian Federal government implementing the Modern Slavery Act on January 1 2019, we can continue to press into our neighbouring countries to enforce protection over forms of exploitation that breach basic human rights, denial of freedom, lack of safe working environments, physical and mental abuse, minimal to no income, irregular hours, and utilizing minors. Together we can stand up for those who are vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation.  

 

As seafood is one of the highest traded food commodities, especially during our hot summer Christmas, this could be the perfect timing to raise awareness of the reality behind modern slavery within the seafood industry. If you’re lacking in conversation starters and small talk at the Christmas dinner table, feel free to download our discussion starters to dive right into those fishy matters.  

 

3. Be the voice 

The local support in pushing for a Modern Slavery Act within Australia has the federal parliament in action. Let’s continue to reach this goal on a global level. Writing letters to the government and raising these concerns will shed a light on the vulnerable causing the need to respond. Our neighbouring country Thailand, need our support in eliminating unethical corporate behaviour in the Thai fishing industry. The Work in Fishing Convention ensures vulnerable fishermen are sufficiently protected, establishes the safe working environments, regular payments, and equal security as national workers. Indeed, there are NGOs and local service providers that support Thai fishers, however their resources and capacity are limited and their efforts alone are not enough. We have the power and the voice to change and push for a better life for those who are vulnerable.   

 

Natalie Chan, natalie.chan@stopthetraffik.com.au