Thursday, March 16, 2017

17/03/2017: New RAF course recognises importance of social accountability in aquaculture

An important new online course from the Responsible Aquaculture Foundation addresses social responsibility as an essential element of aquaculture

The course, 'Social Accountability in Aquaculture' covers fundamental labour rights, worker safety and health, and community relations.

Image: NHSeaGrant
"Aquaculture businesses must acknowledge their responsibility to address social issues and take systematic steps to ensure that they uphold the rights of their workforce and contribute positively to the communities within which they work," states the course introduction.

As outlined in the course, most countries prohibit slavery, child labour and discrimination, but violations can occur, and groups such as minorities, women and indigenous peoples are particularly at risk of falling victim to labour abuses.

These abuses can cause physical, emotional and economic harm.

"Our goal with this course is to help aquaculturists better understand the principles of social accountability, but not just to comply with standards or regulations," George Chamberlain, RAF president, said.

"Addressing worker rights and other social issues is simply the right thing to do, and it is fundamental to acceptance by consumers and the greater seafood marketplace."

Through risk management and training, occupational safety and health should be paramount at aquaculture farms and processing plants - not only in the workplace, but also in housing and surrounding areas.

Aquaculture facilities should also take steps to ensure positive and productive relations with members of the communities they impact.

The new social course was written by Birgitte Krogh-Poulsen, a social development consultant who specialises in the elimination of child labour, forced labour and human trafficking.

Based in Denmark, she has advised organisations, governments and businesses regarding labour and social rights for over 20 years.

"Addressing social issues can be complicated," Ms Krogh-Poulsen said.

"Understanding the fundamental issues is the first step toward ensuring that seafood is produced and sourced responsibly from a human rights perspective and that basic social compliance can be achieved in an operation."

As with the Responsible Aquaculture Foundation's other courses, the new title is currently free, but will require a registration fee later this year.

In addition to Social Accountability in Aquaculture, the RAF Education Program offers a growing range of courses, including material on water quality and shrimp diseases.

New course content on seafood safety in aquaculture is also under development.

To access these courses, register and log in, HERE

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