Oceana believes that the new Directive on Sustainable Corporate Governance, proposed by the European Commission, is not enough to identify, prevent and remedy the rampant environmental and human rights abuses across the seafood supply chain. The organisation sustains that the new legislation is an opportunity to force businesses to improve their value chains. However, the proposal only introduces requirements for big corporations, which means that 99% of EU companies, including most seafood businesses, are excluded from due diligence duties.
Oceana’s Senior Director of Advocacy in Europe, Vera Coelho, says that “despite being a global leader in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the EU is missing a unique opportunity to complement fisheries legislation and ensure that seafood products sold in its market are not only legal but also sustainable and free from human right abuses.”
Oceana is advocating for corporate governance rules which hold seafood companies accountable when failing to prevent environmental or human rights abuses. Small and medium-scale fishery producers who have high-risk supply chains should obtain capacity-building support and have reasonable and proportionate due diligence requirements, rather than be excluded from any requirements as has been proposed by the Commission.
The EU is one of the largest seafood markets in the world, and 60% of seafood consumed in the EU is imported. The Sustainable Corporate Governance Directive offers an opportunity to ensure that seafood products entering the EU market are not only sustainable, but also free of human rights abuses.
The Commission’s proposal will be discussed and amended by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in the coming months. Throughout the process, Oceana will continue to advocate for corporate legislation that requires all seafood businesses to adopt strategies to mitigate sustainability risks resulting from their activities.