Shrimp plants certified by the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) for responsible working practices have been banned from outsourcing processing to third-parties from 1 January, after evidence of child and forced labour was discovered in the supply chain.
Under its Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) scheme, the not-for-profit trade association certifies plants, as well as farms, hatcheries and feed mills, on the basis of whether they meet standards for providing adequate wages, a safe and healthy working environment and preventing child and forced labour.
The decision to prohibit outsourcing follows reports of child and forced labour at peeling and heading “sheds” – seasonal, temporary processing plants which often operate independently, unregistered and unlicensed. Licensed facilities that operate as part of a larger processing plant are not included in the prohibition, which came into force at the beginning of 2016.
“Our experience over many years with farmed shrimp is that most of the peeling and heading of shrimp is conducted at well-run processing facilities, and it is only during infrequent periods of peak supply from farms that outsourcing takes place,” said the GAA’s executive director, Wally Stevens.
“The current BAP processing plant standards require facilities that outsource their peeling or heading operations to maintain appropriate controls over the environmental, social and food safety practices of those outsourced operations. But obviously it would be far better if these processing steps were conducted in-house,” he added.