THE Global Aquaculture Alliance has banned BAP certified plants from outsourcing shrimp processing to third parties in a move to combat bad labour practices.
The prohibition, which takes effect on January 1, 2016, follows reports of child labour and forced labour in the shrimp supply chain, specifically at peeling and heading ‘sheds’.
A shed refers to a seasonal, temporary processing plant that operates independently and is unregistered and unlicensed. Licensed facilities that operate as part of a larger processing plant are not included in the prohibition.
GAA executive director Wally Stevens said: ‘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.
‘The current BAP [Best Aquaculture Practices] 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.’
BAP is the world’s only third-party aquaculture certification programme with seafood processing plant standards; no other aquaculture programme addresses the outsourcing of processing to a third-party entity.
The BAP standards are comprehensive, encompassing the entire aquaculture value chain, from hatcheries and feed mills to farms and processing plants.
GAA takes seriously allegations of child labour and forced labour in the seafood supply chain, and allegations of non-compliance can trigger an unannounced audit, in addition to routine annual audits.
Since its inception in 1997, GAA has regarded social justice as one of the pillars of its responsible aquaculture programme.
BAP certified processing plants, farms, hatcheries and feed mills are required to meet standards for adequate wages, a safe and healthy working environment and prevention of child labour and forced labour.
The BAP programme is based on third-party audits by independent certification bodies to ensure compliance with the standards.