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OUR WORK

Decent Work

Most people work on land. Unless rocked by an earthquake, their work stations remain still. Not so for fishers. Their entire work platform rocks and rolls ceaselessly. Non-fishers cannot imagine the risks they face. Fishers work in unique conditions. There are no regular hours. On-board accommodation can be extremely cramped and unhealthy.

The difficulties don’t end when the catch is landed. Fishworkers include those in the harbours; those who process the fish and carry out post-harvest activities; those who work these into markets. Even though women carry out these activities—some even more than men—their contribution is undervalued. They work in difficult conditions, without healthcare or decent facilities, facing violence and harassment.

Trade union membership is low. Which means labour standards and legal frameworks, like those laid down by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to protect fishers, are often not to their benefit. There are also concerns worldwide about forced labour, human trafficking and exploitation of migrant labour.

ICSF has, since its inception in 1986, worked to improve the conditions of work onboard fishing vessels through legal and policy interventions. ICSF has advocated for the inclusion of small-scale fishing vessels in the ILO Work in Fishing Convention C188, which lays down binding requirements concerning work on board fishing vessels, occupational safety, health and medical care at sea and ashore, rest periods, written work agreements. ICSF has worked in partnership with FAO and ILO to address child labour issues in fishing.

Current Programmes

Engaging with the Decent work process related to the adopted Work in Fishing Convention (WFC), 2007 has been an important part of ICSF’s work. ICSF saw engagement with the ILO process as an opportunity to focus greater attention on issues related to the conditions of work in the small-scale fisheries sector, including aspects such as safety at sea, social security, and remuneration and recognition of shore -based workers, especially women.

Resources

A Study on migration of fishers from Kanyakumari to the cooperation council for the Arab states of the Gulf (CCASG)

This study aims to look at the situation of these migrant fishers to get a better understanding of their recruitment, living and working conditions on the one hand and to…

Report of the proceedings: Enhancing capacities of fishing communities: ICSF-BOBLME Sub-regional dialogue on labour, migration and fisheries management, 11 to 13 December 2013, Maha Chulalongkorn Building, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

This report on the “Sub-regional Dialogue on Labour, Migration and Fisheries Management”, held at, Thailand, from 11 to 13 December 2013, highlights the issue of migrant labour on board fishing…

ICSF Guidebook: Understanding the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 in English

This guidebook is intended mainly to help those unfamiliar with the Convention and the working of the ILO and the ILC, gain some understanding of the relevant issues. In particular,…

ICSF Guidebook: Understanding the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi, Odia, Tamil, Kannada) By ICSF, 2007

ICSF Guidebook: Understanding the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007  English https://www.icsf.net/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/930.ICSF119.pdf Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi, Odia, Tamil, Kannada  

Report of workshop on emerging concerns of fishing communities: Issues of Labour, trade, gender, disaster preparedness, biodiversity and responsible fisheries; Fortaleza, Brazil

The document gives a detailed report of the presentations and discussions transpired in the workshop. It is also worth noting that the discussions at the workshop as well as the…

International legal instruments relevant to fisheries and fishing communities: A handbook on Labour

The conventions and recommendations adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) formulate minimum international standards of basic labour rights: freedom of association, the right to organize, collective bargaining, abolition of…

Social security for fishworkers in Brazil: A case study of Para’

This study explores the status of Brazil’s social welfare system for the fisheries sector, from the point of view of democratization of access, the methodologies used and the extent to…

Social welfare and social security in Sri Lankan fisheries

Since Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948, social welfare for the country’s fishing populations has been the responsibility of successive governments. During the latter half of the last millennium, the State…

Fishing for standards (A collection of articles on ILO’s proposed comprehensive standard on work in the fishing sector-ICSF Dossier)

This dossier puts together reports on workshops held to discuss this proposed standard, as well as analyses of social security measures for fishing communities in the small-scale and artisanal sector…

Dangerous calling: The life-and-death matter of safety at sea: A collection of articles from Samudra report

Fishing is arguably the world’s most dangerous vocation, reporting the highest rate of occupational fatalities among industries, made only worse by declining fish prices, overfished waters and shortened fishing seasons.…

World Migration Report 2022

Since 2000, IOM has been producing its flagship world migration reports every two years. The World Migration Report 2022, the eleventh in the world migration report series, has been produced to…

Delivering SDGs at the Local Level Efficiency of in Bangladesh Social Protection Programmes by Towfiqul Islam Khan et al.

The report emphasises the importance of enhancing the efficiency of social protection programmes in Bangladesh to attain the SDGs, particularly to meet the needs of the ‘left behind’ population. In…

From Informal ‘Co-adventurers’ to Formal Workers? ILO’s Work in Fishing Convention, 2007

This article provides a backdrop to the employment and labour dimensions, and to earlier ILO labour standards of relevance to fishing. It discusses the process which led to the adoption…

Choppy waters: Forced Labour and Illegal Fishing in Taiwan’s Distant Water Fisheries

The report is based on interviews with migrant fishers on three vessels operating in the Atlantic Ocean that are flagged or linked with Taiwan, including two longliners and a carrier…

World employment and social outlook: Trends 2020

This report provides an overview of global and regional trends in employment, unemployment, labour force participation and productivity, as well as dimensions of job quality such as employment status, informal…

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020: Sustainability in action

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture aims to provide objective, reliable and up-to-date information to a wide audience – policymakers, managers, scientists, stakeholders and indeed everyone interested in the…

Stolen at Sea: The Chinese trawlers driving the collapse of Ghana’s fisheries

 ‘Saiko’ is a severely destructive form of illegal fishing. Foreign trawlers target the staple catch of Ghanaian canoe fishers and sell this stolen fish back to local communities. Our new…

Safety and health at the heart of the future of work: Building on 100 years of experience

Safety and health at work can be key to sustainable development and investment in OSH can help contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and especially…

Transforming our world: A cooperative 2030 – Cooperative contributions to SDG 14

Through a series of 17 briefs, one for each Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), COPAC hopes to raise awareness about the significant contributions of cooperative enterprises towards achieving the 2030 Agenda…

Human rights abuse in the tuna industry

EJF’s recent investigation, speaks to the former crew of long-line tuna fishing vessels. These testimonies reveal widespread human rights abuse and the illegal finning of sharks, including endangered hammerheads. 

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