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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

Nets for social safety by John Kurien and Antonyto Paul

Nets for Social Safety is a first –of –its-kind study, specially commissioned by the ICSF, to focus on the growth and changing composition of social security provisions in the fisheries…

The ICSF’S seminar workshop on the conditions of fishworkers on distant water vessels: A report on the immersion in Alabat island and Gumaca, Quezon, Philippines, January 27–30, 1991 and Manila, Philippines, February 1–3, 1991

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This Seminar design included two panel discussions. The first panel discussion focused on the main subject: “The Conditions of Fishworkers on Distant Water Vessels.” The second panel discussion was on…

A Study of Migrant Fishers from Andhra Pradesh in the Gujarat Marine Fishing Industry

This book studies migration, both international and internal, in the fisheries and the particular vulnerabilities facing migrant fishers with a view to improving the conditions on board vessels through legal…

Caught in the net: Illegal fishing & labour abuses in the Vietnamese fishing fleet

Vietnam has one of the fastest growing fishing fleets in the world – increasing in size by over 160% between 1990 and 2018. This explosion in the number of fishing…

Hidden chains: Rights abuses and forced labor in Thailand’s fishing industry

This report documents forced labor and other human rights abuses in the Thai fishing sector. It identifies poor working conditions, recruitment processes, terms of employment, and industry practices that put…

Thailand: Forced Labor, Trafficking Persist in Fishing Fleets

The report describes how migrant fishermen from neighboring countries in Southeast Asia are often trafficked into fishing work, prevented from changing employers, not paid on time and paid below the…

The flexibility clauses of the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188): Working Paper No. 31

This sectoral working paper discusses the various types of flexibility clauses found in the Work in Fishing convention, 2007 (No. 188), with a view to assisting those considering making use…

Social protection to foster sustainable management of natural resources and reduce poverty in fisheries-dependent communities: Report of the FAO Technical Workshop, 17–18 November 2015, Rome

Strengthening the conceptual framework for poverty and natural resources management in fisheries-dependent communities, carrying out further country case studies and deepening the understanding of the link between social protection and…

Gap analysis of the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188), and Thai national laws, regulations and other measures concerning conditions of work on board fishing vessels

The report examines Thailand’s existing legal framework for work in fishing followed by a Section-by-Section analysis of the gaps between Thai law and the definitions, scope, general principles, and provisions…

Handbook for improving living conditions on board fishing vessels

The Safety Recommendations for Decked Fishing Vessels of Less than 12 metres in Length and Undecked Fishing Vessels provide information on the design, construction, equipment, training and protection of the…

Frequently Asked Questions: Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188)

This tool is designed to promote a greater understanding of the Convention amongst ILO constituents, particularly those from the fishing sector. The topics addressed include the scope of its application,…

Guidelines for port State control officers carrying out inspections under the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188)

The Guidelines are intended to provide supplementary practical information and guidance to port State administrations that can be adapted to reflect national practices and policies and other applicable international arrangements…

Gap Analysis of ILO Convention 188, Work in Fishing Convention

As the Philippine is yet to ratify this convention, several stakeholders have expressed concern and apprehension regarding their capacity to comply with the standards described in the 2007 WIFC. Hence,…