Global Aquaculture Alliance Challenges Shrimp Labor Study Group to Provide Details or Deliver Apology

Executive Director Wally Stevens Interviewed on CNN
April 25, 2008

Global Aquaculture Alliance Challenges Shrimp Labor Study Group to Provide Details or Deliver Apology

The Global Aquaculture Alliance challenges authors of a newly released report on working conditions in shrimp-processing plants in Thailand and Bangladesh to provide specific details or deliver an apology to the countries and companies involved in shrimp production.

GAA Executive Director Wally Stevens delivered the challenge in an interview on CNN that was aired on the U.S. edition of the network.

“Over the past 10 years, our organization has led the way in the development of global aquaculture standards,” Stevens said. He added that GAA’s Best Aquaculture Practices standards encompass social justice issues such as worker safety and child labor regulations, and address food safety, traceability and the environment, as well.

Producers seeking BAP certification must undergo a rigorous, independent audit by a recognized certification body. Companies that do not measure up on all of the key areas are not certified. Failure to maintain compliance with a standard will also cause a company to lose its certification, Stevens said.

In addressing the issue of worker rights, Stevens said, “Families are at the heart of the seafood industry in the United States and around the globe, and we who are in the business of putting food on American tables consider any evidence of child labor or worker abuse to be abhorrent.” 

He questioned why the report’s authors chose to release their report without contacting the Global Aquaculture Alliance, the leading global aquaculture standards-setting organization. “Our approach is to work with many organizations to find common ground and solutions to the challenges that face a young industry such as aquaculture,” Stevens said. “We prefer a solution-oriented approach rather than one that creates headlines and creates a climate of fear, uncertainty and doubt.”

Stevens pointed out the fact that one-third of the shrimp consumed in the United States has been processed at BAP-certified facilities.

Read the report (PDF)