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June 24, 2014
The Truth about Thai Shrimp
On June 24, 2014, five associations involved in the Thai shrimp industry—Thai Fishery Producers Coalition, Thai Frozen Foods Association, Thai Shrimp Association, Thai Feed Mill Association and Thai Fishmeal Producers Association—held a press conference in Bangkok to respond to the recent allegations from international media and nongovernment organizations that linked Thai shrimp to slavery at sea. The goal of the press conference was to clarify the misinformation regarding the issue.
For many years, Thailand has been among the world’s major shrimp exporters and the biggest supplier of frozen shrimp to the United States. It has gained the trust of its trade partners by supplying quality products. Shrimp has become the livelihood for hundreds of thousand of people in Thailand.
All shrimp exporters are members of TFFA. There are mandatory programs such as Good Management Practices (GMP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) for health and sanitation purposes, administered by the Thailand Department of Fisheries. Customers also require social responsibility audits to ensure that environmental and ethical standards are met. A Good Labor Practice (GLP) Program by the Ministry of Labor and the Department of Fisheries is being implemented with the International Labour Organization (ILO) as advisor and co-facilitator.
Concerning the child and forced labor issue, TFFA has continuously worked with local and national authorities to improve and monitor the work places along the supply chain. Any member found violating ethical codes will be expelled. The latest Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report mentioned only one case regarding shrimp: a peeling shed prosecuted in 2009.
Thai shrimp exported to the United States must be farm-raised. Aquaculture is much more efficient than fishing, resulting in lower costs and the conservation of resources. Shrimp farmers provide full traceability of their production from fry and feed production right through to the finished product. Farm operations are also audited for good environmental practices.
There has never been any allegations of child or forced labor on Thai shrimp farms.
In Thailand, 14 TFMA members produce shrimp feed. In 2013, approximately 350,000 metric tons of shrimp feed were sold to farmers, requiring approximately 100,000 metric tons of fishmeal. TFMA members only buy fishmeal from traceable fishmeal producers.
Feed mill operations are not labor intensive, relying instead on heavy machinery investment.
TFMPA has 74 members. Raw materials going into fishmeal production come from fish processing plants and fisheries. Of the 100,000 metric tons of fishmeal used annually, 65,000 metric tons come from big processing plants that import fish, mainly tuna, and 35,000 metric tons come from local fisheries with registered fishing licensees.
The private sector, through the Thai Fishery Producers Coalition, has stressed that child and forced Labor will not be tolerated. It pledges full cooperation with Thai authorities to fight human trafficking, not only within the supply chain but also in related industries. It would like the truth to be told: there is no slavery involved in the shrimp supply chain.
Source: Email and Attachments from the Thai Fishery Producers Coalition to Shrimp News International. Subject: The Truth of Thai Shrimp Industry Labour Press Conference. PR Team. June 24, 2014.
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