Labor and Social Issues

Social issues in fisheries are complex and varied, ranging from ethical treatment of workers and suppliers, to advancing co-management, gender equity, and healthy communities. We promote socially responsible seafood production by helping our partners and seafood companies understand the problems and find solutions.

Empowering partners to address risks

We help our partners understand the risks of labor abuse and other social challenges in seafood supply chains, including legal liabilities and supply chain disruptions, and offer guidance and recommendations for addressing these issues.

Our Seafood Metrics system includes a Human Rights Risk Index, to help companies understand the risks in their source fisheries. This information is also used to highlight key risks within Target 75 and Supply Chain Roundtable priority fisheries.

Burmese workers on boat

Workers take a break after unloading fish from Sor Somboon 19. Initial screenings, conducted by Greenpeace during its investigation on human rights abuse and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in Thailand, revealed that crew from this Thai trawler met internationally accepted definitions of forced labor. Photo: Greenpeace

Resources and Tools

We have compiled the following list of resources to help companies learn more about these issues and identify organizations and tools that can help you understand and address the risks of labor and social issues in your supply chain.

It should be noted that this list is not exhaustive, and there may be additional resources in other languages or otherwise more suited for a given situation. Inclusion in the list above does not constitute an endorsement by SFP, and SFP is not responsible for information contained on a linked website or transmissions users receive from linked websites.


Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

Danish Institute for Human Rights

Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)

FAIR Hiring Initiative

International Collective in Support of Fishworkers

International Labour Organization (ILO)

International Transport Workers Federation

Issara Institute


Seafood and Gender Equality (SAGE)

Seafood Ethics Action Alliance


Certification and Ratings Collaboration: Human Rights Abuses and Risks Tool

Decent Working Conditions, Safety and Social Protection: ILO Work in Fishing Convention No. 188, Recommendation No. 199

Fair Trade USA Capture Fisheries Standard

Food and Agriculture Organization – Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries

ILO Asia: Regional operational guidelines on fair and ethical recruitment in ASEAN. Improving regulation and enforcement: A resource for regulators

ILO: Technical meeting on the future of work in aquaculture in the context of the rural economy

Issara Institute Reports and Data

Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Seafood Social Risk Tool Profile

Responsible Recruitment Toolkit 

Responsible Sourcing Tool

RISE – Roadmap to Improve Seafood Ethics

Tools for Ethical Seafood Sourcing – Seafish

Track the fish: A human rights impact assessment of the small pelagic fish value chain in Senegal and Mauritania 

United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

U.S. Department of Labor 2022 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor

U.S. Department of Labor 2021 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Department of State 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report

Worker Voices Collaboration

International Conventions

Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing

International Labour Organization (ILO) International Labour Standards on Fishers

ILO C188 Work in Fishing Convention (No. 188)

ILO core conventions 

Stop Labor Abuse

Learn more about how you can help protect fishers and fishing communities.