Skilled, documented foreign crew have been legally employed in the Hawaii longline fishery for over 30 years. In 2016, accusations of poor working conditions, confinement and human trafficking were lodged against Hawaii longline vessels.
No evidence supporting the allegations were provided to US Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP), which has a oversight over foreign crew employed in the Hawaii fleet. Over the past 30 years there has not been any confirmed or prosecuted cases brought by CBP or any other authority for sub-standard working conditions, human trafficking or forced labor in the Hawaii longline fishery.
HLA responded to the 2016 allegations by conducting an assessment of the crew and working conditions. No evidence of sub-standard working contidions, human trafficking or forced labor was uncovered.
HLA also took action to educate vessel operators and strengthen protections for workers:
Formed industry task force
Developed and implemented standard universal crew contract (translated)
Developed and implemented crew handbook (translated) including crew grievance mechanism and points of contact
Established a crew grievance committee that meets regularly
Developed employer’s code of conduct based on international and domestic fair labor guidance
Implemented standards in the fishery with signed Letter’s of Assurance from vessel owners, captains, and crew
US Customs and Boarder Protection Agency has oversight on foreign crew employed in Hawaii Longline fishery
Foreign crew have been employed in the Hawaii longline fishery for 30 years and within this time there has never been prosecution brought by CBP or any other authority for human trafficking or forced labor in the Hawaii longline fishery.