Australia: Fishmongers & academics hope Modern Slavery Act will help stamp out slavery from seafood supply chains

Author: Erin Parke, ABC News, Published on: 16 March 2019

"Fish sold in Australia being caught by modern-day slaves who are forced to spend months at sea", 14 March 2019

...Australian fishmongers and academics are hoping the introduction of Australia's first Modern Slavery Act will help stamp out slave labour from our seafood supply chains.

Perth fishmonger Matt Beagley said he was worried we do not know enough about the fish we eat.
...Last year Australia passed the Modern Slavery Act....

...Professor Redmond said..."The Modern Slavery Act has a number of weaknesses, primarily the absence of penalties,"....

...There is no suggestion of slave labour conditions in the Australian fishing industry, leading some, such as Mr Beagley, to recommend people avoid imported fish and buy local.

That option has been rejected by the Seafood Importers Association of Australia, which said a boycott would further punish fishermen in developing countries.

...Bangkok-based Darian McBain...said one of the biggest challenges was the isolation of fishing crews working far offshore.

"Unlike a farm or a factory, you can't easily go visit or audit on a vessel when it's at sea, so workers sometimes don't have a voice," she said.

"One of the things Thai Union and others in the industry are doing now is making sure we can connect with the workers.

"For example, by putting satellite phones on Thai vessels, so that for the first time workers can chat with their loved ones back on shore."

...Professor Meeuwig said..."We are seeing labour abuse in fisheries because we have basically emptied the oceans,"....

"These are low-profit fisheries, and people abuse labour because it's the only way that can make a buck."

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