‘A fisher’s life, a fisher’s future’ has been the motto of the international conference organised by the Fishing Industry Safety and Health (FISH) Platform last week in Thailand. The FISH Platform is a world leading group of experts involved in safety and health in the fishing industry. Globally, most commercial fishers are located in the Southeast Asian region, characterised by a low level of ratification of international conventions aimed at protecting fishers’ health, safety and working conditions. The Platform considered it about time for public authorities, experts, employers and workers to come together to share experiences in the implementation of such conventions, social dialogue, and to jointly push for the sustainable management of the fishing industry. Europêche has joined the call.
The title perfectly summarises the message unanimously given by governments during the Ministerial Conference on Fishing Vessel Safety and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, organized by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the Government of Spain in Torremolinos this week. The Conference aims to promote the widespread adoption of the Cape Town Agreement (CTA), a key IMO treaty for safety of fishing vessels, which so far has not entered into force due to low ratification levels1. Thanks to the recent accession of Spain and the boost provided by the Conference, nearly 50 countries signed a Declaration to enhance safety at sea by promoting the entry into force of the CTA and combating IUU fishing.
On the occasion of the World Fisheries Day, the FAO and the Holy See joined forces once again to host a successful event focusing international attention on the fair treatment and well-being of fishers around the globe. Europêche, on behalf of the EU fishing industry, participated together with international organizations, government representatives, trade unions and relevant stakeholders in this year’s event titled ‘Labour rights are human rights: working together to ensure the rights of fishers – fighting trafficking and forced labour in the fishing sector’. United Nations specialized agencies in fisheries and their Member states were urged to work together to promote the ratification, implementation and enforcement of internationally agreed social standards to support the livelihoods of 38 million fishers in the planet.
On 9th November 2017, during their annual plenary meeting, the EU Social Partners in the fisheries sector (Europêche1 and ETF2) met with the specialised agencies of the United Nations which play a vital role in fishers’ safety at sea and working conditions. Representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) together with the European Commission (EC) and Social Partners laid the foundations for a comprehensive action plan to raise awareness and jointly promote worldwide all relevant international instruments on fisheries to ultimately improve safety and labour conditions.