The Seafood Importers Association of Australasia is a registered trade association that represents seafood wholesalers who trade in both Australian and imported seafood products sold in the Australian marketplace. The Association has 12 member businesses and a staff of 1 FTE.
During 19/20 the Association was active in supporting its members with regard to the implementation of the new Modern Slavery Act 2018, including producing for its members an interpretive guide to the ‘Guidance for Reporting Entities’ and a ‘Modern Slavery Legislation - How to Guide’ for members.
At the Associations AGM in October 2019 the Association ran a Modern Slavery workshop for members, which was also shared electronically to those who could not attend in person. This workshop led to the development of a Seafood Risk Assessment tool that could then be used by members. This risk assessment tool is a country specific risk assessment tool that assesses both the risk from ‘at sea’ fishing operations and the risk from ‘on land’ aquaculture and processing operations. The risk assessment tool draws on data from the Minderoo Foundations, Walk Free, Global Slavery Index.
The Association recognises that Worker Welfare / Modern Slavery is a concern with regard to the global seafood industry. The Association has been involved in formal worker welfare ‘Dialogues’ and with organisations such as the UN’s ILO that address these matters for over 10 years. In support of this dialogue process, in May 2019, the Association presented on the Australian Government’s Modern Slavery Legislation at a workshop in Bangkok for Thai seafood industry and Government delegates, this event was organised by the Thai government. The Thai’s have been proactively addressing worker welfare issues in the seafood industry for more than 10 years. The Association has also participated in The Bali Process workshops on the seafood sector, organised by the ILO and the Australian and Indonesian governments.
The risk assessment tool developed has highlighted for members the various mechanisms that members can use to review their supply chains including; ethical sourcing policies, supplier audits and third party certifications, purchasing from reputable suppliers with good worker welfare track records, and if necessary switching suppliers (or countries) to ones with a lower risk ranking.
Particularly with aquacultured (farmed) seafood, the industry is finding that most overseas exporting businesses have adopted integrated third party certification programs that include, food safety, sustainability and worker welfare aspects in the audit scope. The GAA’s BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices) scheme and the ASC’s (Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s) certification scheme are the main certifications being used. These provide an assurance that product is coming from operations meeting the required standards.
Through these ongoing processes the Association is supporting its members to meet their Modern Slavery obligations.