Hawaii longline industry creates task force to respond to allegations of human trafficking and poor working conditions.

jim-cook-hawaii-longline-640x420Hawaii longline industry leaders say they have formed a task force and hired an expert on slavery in response to media reports about human trafficking, forced labor and poor working conditions aboard some of their boats. “We’re trying to get a sort of fleet assessment, get our arms around the problem and see where we’re going to take it,” said Jim Cook, who owns several longline fishing boats and serves on the Hawaii Longline Association board of directors. He said Monday that the goal is to weed out the “bad actors,” in part by requiring a universal crew contract that incorporates international norms to address forced labor. That contract is being finalized and should be “ready to rock” in the next couple days, Cook said. The task force also includes John Kaneko, program manager of the Hawaii Seafood Council, Khang Dang, president of Quota Management, and Katrina Nakamura, who was also hired as a consultant to provide guidance to the industry. Read the story here 08:25