Change on the Water Fund

Applications for funding under the SEA Alliance Change on the Water (COTW) Fund have now closed. The second funding window was open from 4 September 2023 until 30 November 2023.

We believe that addressing human rights and labour standards issues in supply chains is a shared responsibility. The COTW Fund is to support projects in our member company supply chains that positively impact the human rights and labour standards of fishers and aquaculture workers. The aims are to: accelerate change at fishing fleet and aquaculture producer level and explore common indicators for measuring change; to pilot a collaborative model for addressing human rights and labour issues that acknowledges shared responsibility for supply chain partners; to prove the concept that interventions in supply chains can address human rights risks and benefit the seafood sector, in order to facilitate more access to funding (philanthropic and from within businesses).

SEA Alliance Change on the Water Fund Allocation Panel

Change on the Water funding is intended to support improvements that help ensure the human and labour rights of seafood workers are protected and respected.

The priority is, but is not limited to, the following areas:

  • Grievance and worker voice mechanisms – supporting implementation and understanding to strengthen the effectiveness of mechanisms
  • Recruitment practices – making recruitment ethical and responsible
  • Due diligence at fishing fleet and aquaculture producer level (linked to a programme of improvement) and fishery/aquaculture assessments
  • Diversity and anti-discrimination
  • Capacity building and and/or training on any aspects related to worker’s rights
  • Ensuring decent work at sea.

Through the Change on the Water Fund we want to support a collaborative model for addressing human rights issues that acknowledges shared responsibility for supply chains. Our aim is to share learning on the level of success of different approaches, with a view to encouraging uptake of replicable and scalable approaches.

Who can apply

The Fund is open to members of the SEA Alliance and their partners, and each application must involve collaboration between two or more SEA Alliance participating companies. Inclusion of additional stakeholders in projects is encouraged to demonstrate wider ownership of the activity, but responsibility for project delivery lies primarily with SEA Alliance members. Members may be involved in multiple applications, but may only apply as the lead applicant/s on one application per funding round. Members may apply as lead applicant a second time only once the project they previously led is closed. Applicants must demonstrate capability to manage any grant and capacity to deliver each project they are involved with.

SEA Alliance members or other stakeholders in the project must provide matched funding representing at least 40 per cent of the total project cost.

When to apply for Round two funding

Applications for the second round of funding opened on Monday 4 September 2023 and closed on Thursday 30 November 2023.

How to apply

Applicants are required to include:

  • The completed application form
  • A short video pitch (see application form for further details)
  • The completed budget template

Reviewing the applications

A Change on the Water Fund Allocation Panel has been created to review applications, with established assessment criteria. Where panel members are involved in individual applications they will not be involved in the decision-making process on those applications. The Fund Allocation Panel will meet in December 2023 to review the applications received. An announcement with regards to the successful applicants will be made by the beginning of January 2024.

Round one funding

In round one we awarded £45,000 to three projects, which have progressed and all commenced at the end of 2022/beginning of 2023. The three projects were:

Establishing a mobile application promoting worker rights and incorporating a national grievance mechanism. Maldives Pole-and-line/Handline tuna fishery, Maldives Exclusive Zone.

Although the Maldivian tuna fishery is widely recognised for its pivotal role in supporting its island communities , the increasing use of migrant workers in the harvesting sector has catalysed government action to implement improved safeguards and ensure labour rights are upheld. By assisting the Maldivian government in efforts to establish a mobile application promoting worker rights and incorporating a national grievance mechanism in the Maldivian tuna fishery, this project seeks to reduce the risk of any potential unethical recruitment and employment practices occurring within the sector. The development of a mobile application that incorporates a grievance mechanism responds directly to the challenges outlined above. The mobile application will inform fishers about their own rights, and provide them with a means to report any workplace and recruitment-related grievances anonymously. Match funding: World Wise Foods and Sainsbury’s each provided match funding to support the project.

Thai Seafood Producers: Worker Voice and Survey, Thai Fishing Industry, Thailand.

This project will deliver a trial of the Ulula worker voice survey and grievance mechanism tool for the first time at the seafood harvester and producer end of the supply chain in Thailand. Ulula’s solutions may support hotspots identification within the supply chain where actual or potential adverse social, labour and human rights impacts are detected by sourcing feedback directly from workers at sea via their mobile devices. The trial will seek to implement a tool that is replaceable, scalable and usable across a range of different seafood producers namely the wild capture fishing sector in Thailand and for potentially other fishing fleets. Project stakeholders will co-design the tool for this specific application and will complete surveys of the workers and then also create a grievance mechanism that will be trialled. Match finding: Thai Union, Seafresh, Smuckers and Mars Petcare each provided match funding to support the project.

International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and Stella Maris: Development and dissemination of resources for migrant crew in the UK fishing industry, UK.

This project is focused on providing outreach and support to migrant fishers across the UK fishing sector. This project, implemented by ITF and Stella Maris, will include creating information materials in workers’ own languages and will fund worker outreach in different parts of the UK. This will complement the work being led by Waitrose to create films for new entrants to the UK fishing sector, that will provide insights into working in UK fishing, employment rights, and how to access support where it is needed. Match funding: Hilton, Lidl, Morrisons and Tesco each provided match funding to support the project.

If you would like more information on the Change on the Water Fund, or if you would like to discuss an idea for a project, please contact or

The second round of the Change on the Water Fund funding opened on 4 September 2023 and closed on 30 November 2023.

Please read the SEAA Change on the Water Fund. Project outline details.

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