At Future of Fish, we believe that voting is a fundamental right that should be protected and promoted to ensure everyone’s voices are represented, regardless of race, gender, income, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age or political affiliation. As an international non-profit dedicated to supporting thriving coastal communities and ocean based economies, we are acutely aware that environmental threats, including climate change, disproportionately affect marginalized populations and low-income groups around the world.
While addressing the systemic issues underlying environmental and social injustice will take time, one of the most immediate, powerful actions we can take is to help equalize people’s opportunity to exercise their right to vote. The most common reason people cite for not voting is a lack of time or available resources. Voting involves time off of work, finding child care, providing postage, or finding a mode of transportation to the polls—all of which represent significant barriers for voters, and disproportionately impacts already marginalized communities; particularly people of color and women.
That is why we are calling on our colleagues in the sustainable seafood and ocean communities—from industry partners to fellow NGOs to funders—to sign on to the Seafood Voting Challenge, which calls on members of the sustainable seafood sector to commit to implementing internal policies and procedures to support their employees, clients, and partners to access the information and resources to support their right to vote.
There are two key ways that the sustainable seafood sector can support voting this year, and into the future.
First: if you are a seafood company or industry association, or are an NGO partnered with seafood companies, ask what is being done to support equal voting access this year, and help the relevant decision makers access the resources needed to make a pledge and take action.
Second: for NGOs, make sure you’re supporting your own staff and teammates. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the nonprofit sector of the United States makes up nearly 14% of the national workforce, which is over 20 million potential voters — equal to almost 16% of the total votes cast in the U.S. At Future of Fish, we have signed up as partners to NonProfit Vote to show our commitment to providing staff paid time off to vote. If you’re an NGO or a foundation, consider taking similar actions, and signing on to initiatives which provide simple and effective resources for nonprofits in order to provide their staff with resources and support for voting.
For inspiration, Thai Union North America has joined the public nonpartisan movement Time to Vote, to ensure that their employees have the time, flexibility, and resources to encourage and support voting in the national election. Through increasing flexibility and providing resources and communication on ways to vote, they are hoping to inspire greater turnout by removing barriers for all employees, regardless of their background or position. Initiatives such as Time to Vote and Vote Safe are great starts for any seafood company looking to take action.
Let the 2020 US election be the start of a tidal wave of movement, led by the global seafood industry and those that work to advance social and environmental best practices within it, to advance that fundamental right to vote across the seven seas.
Visit the Seafood Voting Challenge website »
Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions
Fair Trade Fish
George's Charters LLC
Global Aquaculture Alliance
Global Marine Conservation
MNT Co Ltd
Samuels & Son Seafood Co.
Thai Union North America