José Luis Jauregui, head of Sustainibility at Echebastar
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected workers on Echebastar fishing vessels?
As you will be aware, businesses throughout the world are going through a great deal of uncertainty and convulsion due to the coronavirus pandemic. Echebastar is no exception. In particular, due international travel restrictions we are unable to rotate our crews following completion of their sea periods.
What is the situation of those workers?
The vessels continue fishing the high seas to ensure the continuity of supplies to our valued customers to meet the high global demand for quality canned tuna. We are proud to report that our people, the majority of whom have been with us for many years, understand and accept the situation. When the threat posed by the virus has diminished to the extent that our crews may resume their usual work pattern, those now fishing will be able to enjoy deserved vacations.
What measures has Echebastar put in place to guarantee the workers’ safety both ashore and at sea?
We have introduced the preventative measures needed to protect them from the virus while they are on-board. More specifically, we have designed on-board quarantine plans so we can prevent potential cases of infection being brought ashore. The body temperature of the personnel is constantly monitored for both, aboard the crew and shore workers while in port. Extra Intense precautions are also required regarding personal hygiene. At present, there are no cases of infection whatsoever in the Echebastar fleet.
What is your opinion of the situation so far?
Since the beginning of this unfortunate pandemic, we have learned to adapt working conditions on board ships to this unexpected situation. If there is a word that defines the present situation it would be “normal”, considering the circumstances, which we are trying to face in the best possible way.
With regards to the Echebastar shore facilities, we keep working in compliance with the measures put in place by the health authorities. We have implemented teleworking procedures. The in-person activity, when required, strict controls are in place (body temperature monitoring, hygiene, social distancing, etc). The goal for us is to actively participate in the food supply chain, so we can continue supplying canned tuna and the full range of our deep-frozen products. We want to ensure our customers that the consequences of the pandemic are producing the minimum impact.
How is the current situation affecting Echebastar’s MSC certification?
During this period, and as ever, we continue fishing in strict compliance with the highest standards of sustainability and respect for the environment. While there will undoubtedly be delays in the various processes at the international, national and company level, we continue to implement our 2020 – 21 work programme to meet the milestones to the conditions to certification.
For more on this you can check out these websites:
MSC destaca la labor de Echebastar y Eroski como “héroes del océano” (Industrias Pesqueras)