GAA Responds to Labor Abuse Accusations at Thai Facility

June, 2013

The Global Aquaculture Alliance takes very seriously the accusations of labor abuse in a June 6 report by Warehouse Workers United and the International Labor Rights Forum and is determining a corrective course of action to ensure that the shrimp processing plant cited in the brief is adhering to Thai labor laws and the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) standards.

The facility, Narong Seafood Co. Ltd. in Samutsakorn, Thailand, is BAP certified.

The BAP management team is following up with Narong Seafood, which will be required to respond to all accusations in the report, titled “The Walmart Effect: Child and Worker Rights Violations at Narong Seafood.” A corrective course of action will include ensuring that the facility was audited effectively.

GAA is committed to promoting social responsibility through its BAP certification program. Processing plants and farms certified against the BAP standards must ensure a safe, healthy working environment. The BAP standards also address wages and other terms of employment and the use of child and forced labor. In total, the BAP processing plant standards contain 48 clauses relating to worker safety and employee relations. The BAP program is based on independent audits evaluating compliance with the BAP standards.

“These are serious allegations that need to be investigated. Through its BAP program, GAA takes its role in promoting fair labor conditions very seriously, so any report of abuse at a BAP-certified facility is a matter of great concern,” said BAP Standards Coordinator Dan Lee.

“The report calls on major players like Walmart to help drive up labor standards in the global seafood industry, and the BAP program provides an important tool for this job,” he added. “Some seafood certification programs side step the thorny issue of labor conditions. But, to its credit, GAA has adopted a comprehensive approach that attaches great importance to social issues.”