December 11, 2020

The Prawn Supply Chain

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Above you will see the infographic that simply maps out the supply chain of farmed prawns. In the past, there has been human trafficking and slavery on the fishing vessels for the catching of “trash fish” for the production of fishmeal to feed the prawns, on the prawn farms, the processing/ peeling factories.

News providers including The Guardian, Associated Press, and The New York Times, have reported multiple instances of human trafficking in the prawn industry in Thailand and SE Asia. Despite recent governmental developments, a variety of issues remain including: high risk recruitment practices, labour agent practices, corruption, inadequate labour inspections and prosecution, and continuing indicators of forced labour.

Some companies like Nestlé, are finding that they are having to persist at tackling the problems in the supply chain. They have worked at increased supply chain traceability by forming additional partnerships with NGOs, government, and producers. BAP (The Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices) 3rd party certification program has seen the vulnerability of outsourcing and have gone as far as to prohibited outsourcing to prawn processing/peeling sheds. The supply chain issues are complex, hidden and because it is so profitable people trying to tackling the issues are having to persist.

Some helpful learnings on diligence and persistence in this area has been developed by NGO, Fishwise. They propose that seafood buyers for imported prawns (and seafood) should:

1.     Map it: Request full traceability to legal vessels, farms, and inputs

2.     Analyze: Conduct a risk assessment and focus work on areas of the highest risk

3.     Commit and track: Ensure that each link in the supply chain makes a binding, documentable commitment to social responsibility goals and to tracking progress against those goals

4.     Communicate with vendors: Share concerns with vendors and ensure improvements are made

5.     Audit and certify: Support unannounced labour audits of vessels, farms, and processing facilities and seek certification or adhere to best practice guidance

6.     Communicate with consumers: Provide clear information to consumers regarding sourcing and sustainability

7.     Engage: Participate in multi-stakeholder dialogues and support relevant policy to combat illegal fishing and human rights or labour abuses

8.     Support improvements: Consider supporting Fishery and Aquaculture Improvement Projects with social components or providing support to social initiatives

9.     Share: Promote transparency and positive social stories

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