Fair Trade Certified

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Program Overview

When consumers purchase a product with the Fair Trade Certified label, they know the fishermen and workers who produced it got a fair deal for their hard work. This means better prices and wages, safer working conditions, environmental protection, and additional Community Development Premiums to invest in much-needed projects like education, healthcare, and clean water.

The Fair Trade Capture Fisheries Standard was developed to provide the opportunity for fishers to demonstrate the core elements of Fair Trade in their practices, while helping them commercialize their product. The Standard is structured along the core Fair Trade USA principles that represent the main organizational objectives of:

  1. Empowerment: The Standard supports fishers to develop skills necessary to effectively negotiate with those who have an influence on the buying, processing, and marketing of their products. This is done through the process of organizing a Fisher Association, electing a Fair Trade Committee, creating a Fair Trade Premium Plan, and making decisions on how to spend the Fair Trade Premium.
  2. Economic Development: The Fair Trade Capture Fisheries Standard aims to increase the income of fishers by ensuring a transparent and stable trading relationship with their buyer(s) and by requiring payment of a Fair Trade Premium on every Fair Trade Certified™ product sale. The Standard establishes wage requirements for workers employed by the registered fishers and the certificate holder in order to increase their income. The Resource Management section of the Standard also aims to strengthen and stabilize fish stocks so the resource can provide a sustainable livelihood for the fishing community over the long term.
  3. Social Responsibility: The Standard protects the human rights of those involved in the fishery. For fishers and their employees, health and safety measures are established in order to avoid work-related injuries. Fishers are encouraged to use the Fair Trade Premium to provide greater access to, or improved quality of, healthcare and education.
  4. Environmental Stewardship: Independent fishers must adopt responsible fishing practices and protect biodiversity. This includes data collection and monitoring to provide better information on the state of fish stocks and mitigate the impacts of fishing, recognizing that small-scale fisheries often face challenges with data availability and management. A goal of the Capture Fisheries program is to have fisheries improve over time and eventually reach a level of environmental sustainability consistent with Marine Stewardship Council certification. In addition, the certificate holder and Fisher Association(s) work with government agencies and other stakeholders to jointly improve fishery management.
Certified Businesses
Certification Criteria

Structure of the Standard

The Fair Trade USA Capture Fishery Standard contains the requirements for participation of small-scale fishers in Fair Trade certification as members of a legal cooperative or through their partnership with a seafood importer, exporter, fish processor, or supporting organization such as an environmental non-profit, which functions as the certificate holder. In some cases, the certificate holder may choose to work with a third-party implementation partner. For example, the certificate holder may be a processor who partners with a local non-profit that works directly with fishermen and helps implement the Capture Fisheries program. As the certificate holder is ultimately responsible for compliance with this Standard, it is the certificate holder's responsibility to ensure the implementation partner is fulfilling its duties and undertaking the agreed-upon tasks.

To participate in Fair Trade, fishers who are not already members of a cooperative form at least one democratically-run Fisher Association. The Fisher Association represents the views of fishers on any matters affecting their fishery, including:

  • The requirements of the Capture Fishery Standard

  • Any laws and regulations controlling the fishery

  • General welfare of the fishers and their dependents

  • Fishery-related infrastructure

The Standard

1. Standards for Structural Requirements

Organize fishermen into cooperatives or associations to build empowerment and democratic decision-making

  • Certificate Holder Structural Requirements

  • Fisher Association Structural Requirements

  • Fair Trade Committee (FTC) Structural Requirements

2. Standards for Empowerment & Community Development

Guide how the Certificate Holder and the FTC will collect, manage, and disburse the Fair Trade Premium to the benefit of the community and fishery

Development and Management of the Fair Trade Premium Plan
Fair Trade Premium Payments

3. Standards for Fundamental Human Rights

Help prevent discrimination and abuse, eliminate forced labor and human trafficking, protect children, and ensure workers have the freedom to organize

  • Discrimination & Abuse Prevention

  • Freedom from Forced Labor & Human Trafficking

  • Protection of Children & Young Persons

  • Freedom of Association

4. Standards for Wages, Working Conditions & Access to Services

Help standardize and improve wages and benefits, as well as working conditions including health and safety and working hours

  • Conditions of Employment

  • Occupational Health & Safety

5. Standards for Resource Management

Ensure that fisheries are managed legally and responsibly, and require documentation, data collection, stock assessments, biodiversity/ecosystems protections, and proper waste management

  • Fishery Documentation

  • Data Collection

  • Stock Health

  • Biodiversity & Ecosystem Protection

  • Governance

  • Waste Management

6. Standards for Trade Requirements

Provide a framework for tracing Fair Trade products and ensure Fair Trade agreements between fishers, the Certificate Holder, and others are bound by a contract

  • Product Traceability

  • Contracts & Agreements

  • Contract Suspension & Decertification

Price Premiums for Fair Trade Certified Seafood:

  • Scallops, Sea - from U.S., $0.15/lb shucked

  • Shrimp, Blue - from Mexico, 6% of ex-vessel price

  • Shrimp, Brown - from Mexico, 6% of ex-vessel price

  • Shrimp, White - from Mexico, 6% of ex-vessel price

  • Tuna, Skipjack - from Maldives, 3% of ex-vessel price

  • Tuna, Yellowfin - from Indonesia, $0.15/kg whole fish; $0.30kg clean loin

  • Tuna, Yellowfin - from Maldives, $0.15/kg whole fish; $0.30kg clean loin