ICSF 1984-1992


Rome, Italy 4-8 July 1984


Fishermen and fishworkers, and the groups that support them in several countries, especially in the third world, decided to meet to exchange their experiences and analyze their problems, at a time when aspects and problems were being discussed to define strategies for the future development and management of fisheries.

The international conference of fishermen, fish-workers and support groups took place in Rome, 4-8 July 1984. Some 100 people from 34 different countries participated. Close to half of them were fishworkers from every continent: men and women who work as crew members, artisanal fishermen, processors and sellers. Many were artisanal workers operating in coastal or continental waters. The support groups were organizations who identified with the cause of fishworkers.

Nature and objectives of the conference

This event was and will be historic. The main actors in the development of fisheries have been excluded from discussions and decision-making at the political level and in concrete projects. For this reason, a process was launched to develop international collaboration and solidarity. This process will make it possible for these fishworkers to overcome the obstacles that prevent them from actively participating in constructing their own future.

This <was an initiative of people who were not waiting for an invitation from international organizations and who took their own decisions. They decided to meet on their own initiative, in their own style, with their own program and work methods. This conference was not conceived of as an intellectual experience. It was a vital human experience in which spontaneity, life experiences and all levels of self-expression played a predominant role.

This was a committed conference, emotionally meaningful and with an existential weight to which seriousness was added. It is the direct result of the fact that the participants have lived the problems they discussed; this explains their interest in finding solutions for those problems. It is one more stage in the process of struggle and collective action. Based on direct, local-level experience, the conference was an attempt to go beyond national and regional limits. The main concerns of the conference were:

_ share concrete experiences and life;

_ acquire greater knowledge of the problems faced and find solutions with the help of similar organization from other places;

_ understand better the mechanisms that operate at a worldwide level;

_ develop alternatives that ensure the future survival of fishworkers and their re-appropriation of the sea;

_ consider strategies for coordinating activities and developing solidarity at both the regional and international level.

Conclusions of the conference

_ The artisanal fisheries sector has many advantages and solid elements that make its development recommendable:

o it entails local work and technical capacity;

o it saves capital and fuel (especially if out-board motors are combined with sails):

o its technology, organizational forms and management are well known to local communities:

o the distance between human settlement along the shore impedes large-scale projects that have undesirable political and social conse quences;

o it does not lead to huge differences in income;

o it is generally well adapted to tropical aquatic systems (there are many species with small quantities dispersed throughout coastal waters) and, when their techniques are potential de structive of fishing zones, local fishing com munities have convenient ways and regulations to prevent undue exploitation of their re-I sources;

o far from being a stagnated sector, it has proven over the last two decades to be innovative and manageable, which allows for a high degree of efficiency;

o it is highly flexible;

o it is well integrated in small-scale markets and their distribution channels, and undeniably ef ficient. Therefore, it is incorrect to defend the development of artisanal fishing only for social reasons or for the benefit of those involved. Artisanal fishing is to be recommended for economic, technical, ecological, organizational reasons as much as for social reasons.

_ In coming decadesas long as there is no rapid creation of employment nor more production alternatives found for the poorthere is no hope of alleviating the situation of undernourished masses in many third world countries, unless techniques and organizational forms are used that keep the price of basic products down. With low costs for catching, preserving, transporting and distributing fish, artisanal fishing is particularly well suited to provide these masses with low-priced proteins. More effort should go into developing efficient artisanal fishing instead of displacing it by indiscriminate support for industrial fishing.

_ The future of artisanal fishing is threatened by the penetration of industrial fishing boats into coastal waters, and by the fact that some national governments which share interests with foreign countries remain passive about the phenomenon. The recent development of highly sophisticated technology for locating and catching fish, together with governments’ inefficient protective measures, render overfishing a real threat, especially for third world countries that have species with high commercial value

_ In many countries, industrialization, growing tourism and uncontrolled urban expansion have caused serious degradation of aquatic ecosystems, due to pollution and other harmful effects.

_ Many internationally supported fishery-development projects fail because of a lack of people’s participation in conceiving, preparing and implementing programs through their fishermen’s and fishworkers’ organizations.

_ States are sometimes opportunistic and manipulatory in their aid programs and development projects for fishermen. Strong social organizations make it possible to influence such programs so that they truly help artisanal fishermen.

_ Working conditions for those employed in fisheries and industrial plants are unstable and exploitative:

o work contracts do not provide security;

o social security benefits are non-existent;

o working conditions are miserable;

o wages are low and the piece-work system is used excessively.


_ We, fishermen and fishworkers from 34 countries of the world, express our solidarity with fishermen and fishworkers who struggle for survival and often lay down their lives for their cause throughout the world.

_ We recommend to governments and we call for them to respond to the demands of local fishermen’s and fishworkers’ organizations, by:

o granting them an exclusive zone reserved for artisanal fishing in coastal waters;

o not allowing technologies to destroy the equi librium of ecosystems, especially because of overfishing or pollution; and by stopping the use of chemical products prohibited in indus trialized countries;

o inviting local fishermen’s organizations to par ticipate in decision-making and in applying regulations;

o respecting guarantees.

_ We recommend that third world governments establish instances of international regional co-operation in order to ensure a long- term management of fishery resources.

_ We recognize the essential contribution of women to the development of artisanal fishing and the industrialization of fisheries, and we call for measures to be taken in order to:

o protect their participation in the production pro cess;

o lighten their work load;

o encourage a change of attitudes and values leading to their greater participation at all lev els of decision- making, under the same con ditions as other participants;

o introduce improved techniques to help them in their work.

_ We recognize and value the highly positive contribution of non-governmental organizations in developing technology and participatory forms of resource management, which ensure the future of artisanal fishing.

_ Priority should be given to reducing dependence on foreign capital, equipment and knowledge.

_ We request that all scientists who recognize the importance of conserving and strengthening the relations between humankind and nature take a clear stand and actively support local fishermen’s and fishworkers’ organizations, by helping them to deepen their knowledge and capacitating them to assume their rights over the sea and aquatic resources.

Means of action

At the end of this conference, we take the decision to establish in each region a network of contacts that will have the following functions:

_ Facilitate communication within each sub-region between groups of workers in everything concerning:

o the nature of their problems;

o their struggles and actions to defend them selves;

o their specific needs for technical, financial and educational assistance;

o the strengthening of solidarity through interac tions at different levels (meetings, seminars, exchange of written information, etc.).

_ At least one representative of each network should participate in an interregional coordination committee. This committee should study every concrete proposal of action that could support efforts of fishworkers at their respective national and regional levels.

_ Make efforts to establish a solid organization of the masses at the level of fishermen’s and fishworkers’ local communities.

_ Take the necessary measures so that small industries and other fishermen’s association& acquire representative status in the International Labour Organization.


Valparaiso, Chile, 27 June to 1 July 1988.

Our meeting was held in the port of Valparaiso, Chile, 27 June-July, organized by FETRINECH and FETPCHAP, Chilean and Peruvian fishermen’s federations, with support from the following NGOs from the same countries: CESLA, ECONIN, PET, IPEMIN and the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF).

For the first time in history, fishermen from trawlers, industrial and commercial boats, artisanal fishermen and fish- processing plant workers from Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala, representing more than half a million fishworkers, came together for a meeting like this. Italian and Spanish fishworkers also sent delegations, and the ILO sent a delegation to participate with observer status. Some of the agreements reached:

_ According to official figures, 12 of the 16 million metric tons of fish landed in 1986 were used for fish-meal and fish- oils. Another three million were used in export products, and pitilessly, only what was left, some one million tons went to feed the region.

What is most serious about that situation is that it took place at a time when more than 70 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean were undernourished or simply dying from hunger.

As fishworkers, we proclaim that we will not rest till we humanize this activity, that is to say, till it becomes the main source of animal proteins needed by the poorest of the poor and the most needy in our region, guaranteeing the most basic of all rights, the right to food.

_ As fishermen or fish-processing plant workers, we declare that extraction is highly irrational and depredatory. Management and administration of resources are not based on serious scientific research. To the contrary, they only seek to increase production and profits.

We will fight to defend hydro-biological resources and for good management, in which scientific criteria are used for national fisheries policy, which we fishermen have helped to elaborate and adopt. We call for fisheries laws for managing the sector, ministries of fisheries where they do not already exist, and for the governments of neighboring countries to sign agreements concerning management of resources common to both countries.

· Most fishermen are artisanal, with 400000 workers and more than 100000 boats spread throughout the region.

Their operations, with a few exceptions, are threatened by industrial fleets, tuna boats and refrigeration ships. We therefore declare that an exclusive area should be establish in all countries, not only to allow for the normal reproduction of species, but also to ensure the working and living conditions of our artisanal colleagues.

As fishworkers, aware that this is the most forgotten economic sector, we proclaim that we will fight so that they have technical support and credit for their training and renovation of their equipment. Also, to avoid abuses that arise from shipowners classifying industrial and artisanal boats, we state that a boat should be classified as artisanal not only on the basis of capacity, skills and equipment, but also and especially so that its crew not depend on someone like a shipowner.

_ We fishworkers declare that we will fight against every open- seas policy and against everything that harms the sovereignty of our nations, and also against the free operation of any kind of boat that comes into our waters, whatever its flag, because that is the most corrosive expression of the transnational corporations of the seas. That means we also denounce the false nationalizations taking place in our region by changing flags.

We are not opposed to the operations of trawler fleet factory ships when they work under agreements, with concessions and licenses regulated by technical and scientific criteria, that is, their work is regulated by the availability of the species. We will not allow factory ships to operate with foreign fishing officers and with less than 80% of the crew being local seamen; and for boats under local flags, we demand 100% local crews.

_ We denounce the innumerable and at times criminal contamination of our rivers, lakes and seas. Industrial plants, mining complexes, agricultural pesticides and often urban waste are discarded into bodies of water. The worst examples of this are the nuclear explosions in the Pacific.

If the great powers are uninterested in the life of our seas, and if entrepreneurs and governments are also indifferent to the ecological balance of our sea and continental waters, we fishworkers state that we will launch as many campaigns as needed to guarantee the existence of species of marine fauna at the service of civilization. We will even bring those responsible to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

_ We fishworkers began to fish as children, and in most cases, we work till we are no longer able. Practically all the fishermen in the region have no assistance, retirement or social security system. Rights as basic as a daily and weekly work schedule; obligatory day-off once a week; holidays; compensation; retirement; insurance against accidents, occupational and other illnesses are all unknown to fishworkers.

Fishing is still today the most risky of all jobs, seven times more so than, mining. Therefore we will fight for the obligatory incorporation of systems of assistance, retirement and social security for artisanal fishermen; rights financed by 1% of the value of fisheries exports and for which the State and we artisanal fishermen, with solidarity, will set up social security funds in our harbors, fishing communities or ports. We will also fight for retirement at age 50, that companies provide accident insurance, for a 48-hour work week, weekends off, at least eight hours of rest a day and paid holidays that can be taken.

In an activity like ours where hundreds have died on the job, we will fight for our boats to have obligatory systems and equipment for the safety of human life on board, for air support and hospital boats to provide first aid and for partite hygiene and safety committees in fishing companies.

_ The exercise of trade union, work and human rights for the fishworkers of the region is related to our present force and organization and the form of government in our countries. In countries under dictatorships, even fishing cooperatives are considered subversive. In most of the countries of Central America and the Caribbean trade union activity is persecuted and prohibited, and engaging in it means risking their lives for the fishermen in those countries. They are sometimes forced to work without provisions. Anyone who demands their rights while working is thrown overboard. They are considered to be guerrillas or drug traffickers and are jailed in neighboring countries. Common criminals attack their boats, killing any fisherman who resists.

We will continue our struggle till international public opinion becomes aware that in that part of the region even the most basic human rights are violated, and we will not stop till these colleagues recover their condition of human beings and the dictatorships that support this situation are overthrown. For this reason, this first meeting has established a working commission composed of delegates from Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay, who in the following months will knock on every door they need to and personally travel to those countries to register our complaint, in representation of more than 500000 fishworkers.

_ We want to express our militant solidarity with fishworker movements in Africa, Asia and in all the countries of the third world, with which we identify and we hope to unite for the greater organizational force of fishworkers throughout the world. The same is true for those peoples who are struggling against dictators or for their liberation.

_ The meeting established a permanent commission with three delegates from each of the participating countries (one for industrial fishermen, another for artisanal and a third for industrial plant workers). It also established an executive committee composed of one delegate each from Peru, Chile and Argentina, to carry out the campaigns the meeting decided on, edit a quarterly bulletin at the regional level and convoke the second meeting of Latin American and Caribbean fishworkers, scheduled for the first week of July of next year in Peru. The meeting also discussed and adopted a proposed set of statutes to be presented to the grassroots membership. They will be on the agenda of the second meeting and provide the clearest expression of the aspirations of thousands of workers: Latin American and Caribbean Fishworkers Union-UTRAPESCAL

For the unrestricted defense of our resources.

For the recovery or our dignity.

For the respect of human, trade union and employment rights.

For the struggle against hunger and malnutrition.

For the permanent executive committee.



Lisbon, Portugal, 1989.

The basic right of fishworkers to from their own professional organization must be the cornerstone of small-scale fisheries development.

Government and international bodies must recognize fishworker’s organizations and respect their autonomy.

_ The quality of the environment is a major condition for ensuring that employment, food and revenue are available for coastal populations.

Protection of the sea and the coast is a priority.

Fishworker’s organizations and governments should participate jointly in the formulation of coastal planning and protection of aquatic resources.

_ Resource management must be carried out jointly by fishworker’s organizations and governments.

The resource must remain a collective property. Resource management methods should be an integral part of an overall fisheries policy that takes into account social, economic and ecological objectives.

_ The roles of woman in the fisheries sector are recognized and must be supported.

Their capacity to ensure the defense and promotion of their economic, social and Cultural interests must be strengthened. Special attention should be paid to the living conditions of fish-workers children.

_ Scientific research must develop a capacity in consideration, and respect their culture.

Scientists who recognize the importance of the environment should commit themselves to support fishworker’s organizations in order to them defend their rights of access to aquatic resources.

_ Access of foreign fishing vessels to the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) must in every case be approved and controlled by local fish-worker’s organizations. A coastal zone must be reserved for small scale fishing.

Foreign vessels fishing in the EEZ must be equipped with satellite detection devices so that their can be controlled. The extension of this method of control to the national and international levels should be discussed within the framework of the United Nations.

_ International fish marketing should be reoriented in such a way to give precedence to the interests of fishworkers and of Third World populations. Part of the revenue accruing from fishery agreements should be used for the organization of local and regional markets.

_ Blue Europe must be first and foremost a Europe of fishworkers.

Joint evaluations of the impacts of the Blue Europe policies and fishery agreements with the ACP (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) states’ must be carried out by the European Commission, ACP states and by fishworker’s organizations in the ACP states. The same recommendations apply to the North Atlantic region.

_ A policy of co-operation has to be implemented in negotiation with fishworker’s organizations from the North the South in response to an interdependent world.


Bangkok, Thailand, 22-2 7 January 1990

The Conference met at a juncture when the trends in the fisheries sector point to the imminent likelihood of major changes at the international level. These emerging changes arise not only from within the fisheries sector, but are also precipitated by pressures of ongoing development processes in the other sectors of the economy. The cumulative effect of these changes, in the long-run, threatens to destroy irreparably the aquatic cycle which is the basis of life on our planet.

Global trends

During in the last three decades there has been a steady increase in the world demand for fish. This tendency is predicted to continue and even to accelerate during the coming decades. Consequently, there has been tremendous effort to expand the production of fish to match this rising demand. This effort has taken place at a time when most maritime countries extended their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and thus acquired new rights and responsibilities for the management and development of their resources.

As a result of the new Law of the Sea signed in 1982, industrialized countries have been increasingly concerned with maintaining access of their long distance fleets to the waters off the coast of developing countries as well as with ensuring a steady supply of fishery products from the Third World. The latter was often achieved by enhancing the productive potential of the local fisheries through the provision of the international finance, both public and private.

This development was particularly visible in the field of shrimp aquaculture in developing countries and in the rapid increase of fishing agreements between Northern and Southern countriesespecially between the European Economic Community and the African countries.

Along side these efforts to enhance fish production, there are increasing threats to the aquatic eco-system due to the developments which have occurred in the other sectors of the economy. Indiscriminate economic growth strategies have resulted in excessive pressure on natural resources, particularly in coastal regions, and in growing amounts of effluents from industries and modern agriculture which affect the biological productivity of rivers, estuaries and coastal seas. The anarchic development of tourism along coastal areas provides a striking illustration of the detrimental effects which such profit oriented strategies have on fisherfolk and fisheries.

These trends have accentuated in the 1980’s because of the external debt problem of many developing countries. Indeed, the need to service their debts in the context of a world economic crisis has forced them to plunder their natural resources and to neglect the basis need of large segments of their people in order to earn foreign exchange quickly.

Issues in fisheries management and development

In the fisheries sector, export oriented strategies as well as the provision of access rights to industrial fishing fleets, have resulted in enhanced competition and conflicts with local fisheries, particularly with small-scale fishing communities.

These small-scale fishing communities form a particularly vulnerable segment of the fisheries sector due to a variety of reasons. They are by and large powerless against physical intrusions in waters over which they had traditional rights. Poor access to credit, modern inputs and know-how have prevented them from upgrading their fishing technologies. The political and social’ marginalisation resulting from their low status and lack of organisation continue to reinforce all the above vulnerabilities.

In the case of some countries, the small-scale fishing communities have been able to get their governments to reorient fisheries policies. I other cases, they have succeeded in modernising their artisanal technologies which has enhanced their ability to compete with industrial fleets. Unfortunately, this latter modernisation process in many countries has been only a short-term solution to the problems of these communities. This is so because fishery resources are already fully or even over-exploited when these measures are adopted.

Fishworkers from developing countries working on the industrial fleet are also victims of exploitation. Their own work and service conditions are abysmally poor and they are faced with the constant threat of dismissal.

Fishworker’s organizations

Collective action of fishworkers are necessary for monitoring fishing effort, controlling access to the sea and managing and rejuvenating the resources. It is also a prerequisite for performing a large variety of economic, social and political functions. This include cooperative organisation for purchase of inputs and sale of outputs; improving access to credit and insurance; developing appropriate technologies and related skills; and for health and education measures.

A new genre of fishworkers’ organisations have emerged during the last decades in some countries (e.g. India, Philippines, Chile). These organisations have focused their attention on, and directed their struggle at, ensuring that the State takes steps to ensure that appropriate fishery management measures are enacted and enforced.

However, it must be admitted that in many instances the same organisations are much weaker in their ability to cope with the self-defeating character of certain fishing methods and the anarchic increases in fishing capacity aimed initially at maintaining their incomes.

Therefore a process of education and awareness-building is a basic prerequisite for these fishermen and their new organisations. Equally important in this context is the need to revive and reinstate the encyclopedic knowledge which many of these communities possess about the aquatic eco-system. This cultural knowledge should serve as an important basis for devising ways and means of controlling and reorienting effort and rejuvenating fishery resources.

Attempts by fishworkers to federate at the national level should be actively promoted. However, where such national federations are multi-sectorial, the small-scale fishworkers are likely to be marginalised within the larger structures. Such inter-sectorial problems should be openly discussed.


In Latin America and Asia, coastal aquaculture has witnessed a phenomenal growth during the last decade. Export-oriented aquaculture, it now appears, has created severe problems which jeopardise the livelihood of global peasant and fishing communities and in the long term will affect the sustainability of the natural resource base.

In the case of shrimp aquaculture in tropical countries we see the destruction of large tracts of estuarian and mangrove areas which form the natural breeding grounds of many species of aquatic life. Often, shrimp aquaculture is undertaken at the expense of the production of the staple foods such as rice and fish species which were formerly locally consumed. After a few years of continuous cultivation, the fields are polluted owing to accumulation of toxic organic and inorganic substances.

Since much of the demand for shrimp comes from a handful of industrialised countries the increase in shrimp production on a global scale causes a fall in the world market prices. This quickly affects not only those involved in aquaculture but is also bound to affect negatively the incomes of all small-scale fishworkers involved in capture-shrimp fisheries in developing countries.

However less intensive forms of aquaculture development can provide opportunities for fishworkers communities to manage fish resources in the area where they live to obtain new sources of income and to enhance food production and employment. These require that such communities are given exclusive rights to control the water bodies and the surrounding environment.

Perspectives for the future

To face the future, it is imperative to emphasize the need for a more holistic understanding of the intricate relationship between the aquatic environment and the total biosphere of out planet.

_ As beacons of the sea, fishworkers have a special role and responsibility in furthering this understanding.

_ To achieve this holistic understanding there is an increasing need for fishworkers and their supporters to relate more closely to other deprived peoples who survival is also affected by environmental damage, which as the case of fisheries, is hastened by development processes that pay little heed to the rhythms of nature.

_ These new alliances to protect the environment should not detract fishworkers either from the demands within the fisheries sector or from the autonomous functioning of their organizations.

_ Sustainability of development requires that we move from exploitative to nurturing relationship with nature. Nurture and sustenance have always been the role of women in fishing communities. This role has often resulted in them being marginalized in their own communities. Only their active participation in the economy and a recognition of its centrality, will ensure that such new relationships with nature emerge.


Olinda, Brazil, 27 October 1991.

That exclusive areas be established for artisanal fishing, as a way to guarantee the reproduction of species and the restoration of fish stocks.

_ That the organization of artisanal fishermen, together with universities and government technical agents, regulate the use of these areas, and that they be managed by organizations of fishermen.

_ That fishing seasons prohibitions for certain species be determined at the local and regional level on the basis of studies, with the participation of artisanal fishermen; that alternative activities be established for the oft-season by new technicians, and that unemployment insurance be provided.

_ That access to Navy land be guaranteed and ceded to artisanal fishermen; that they be given preference in obtaining jurisdiction over those lands, recognizing their social interest for effects of expropriation and establishment of groups of fishermen, through legal measures that guarantee the collective use of those areas.

_ That a new fishery law be elaborated and environmental legislation reviewed, with special attention given to the state of the environment, fish species and artisanal fishermen.

_ That the current concept of areas of environmental protection be revised to allow artisanal fishermen to use natural resources (land and aquatic), guaranteeing their historic right to remain in their traditional areas.

_ That monitoring mechanisms effectively prevent the invasion of industrial fishing in our artisanal fishing areas, thus avoiding destruction of the environment and our work implements.

_ In the face of innumerable problems (industrial pollution, land clearing, oil spills, among others it was proposed that:

_ That organizations of fishermen, along with other worker organizations, develop their own instruments and mechanisms to receive compensation from the government for the damage caused to the environment by companies that pollute, through:

o indemnization

o elimination of the source of pollution · cleaning up the affected area.

Social movements can:

o demand that the government enforce legislation

o file suit on behalf of those affected by pollution;

o when sources of pollution are installed, that organizations participate in the struggle to prevent or at least diminish the environmental impact;

_ That MONAPE develop channels of constant communication with the national movement of those affected by dams, to search for common strategies for dealing with the social and environmental impact of damming rivers and lakes;

_ That MONAPE maintain communication with groups working against nuclear energy, with a view to protect the lives of artisanal fishermen in the areas of risk;

_ That MONAPE encourage environmental education for its members, recovering the culture and history of fishermen, the ways in which fishermen relate to their environment, and developing exchanges with other organizations connected with education, the popular movement and the environment.


Manila, Philippines, February 1-3, 1991

Recruitment and working conditions

_ International and national pressure be put on governments to control recruitment activities in their countries so that proper contracts are signed and employers’ liabilities are clearly defined, wages, rights and obligations of fish-workers are clearly stated, and copies given to them and their families in the language that they understand.

Governments put an end to illegal recruitment by private agencies and ensure that illegal recruiters are prosecuted in accordance with the law of the land.

_ Countries adopt better recruitment policies which should include providing fishworkers with training to enhance their skills, help prevent accidents and facilitate encounters with other cultures.

_ The basic right of every fishworker to have access to full information on the catch and to control its first sale be firmly upheld and crew members be informed about the real catch value as the basis of their earnings.

_ We ought to denounce the injustice done to fishworkers who are supposed to be paid their overtime work by percentage of the catch, but are never informed about the tonnage and value of the catch.

_ Proper action be taken to curb the unjust salaries given abusively to third world workers, taking advantage of their numbers in the labour market; the desire of fishing companies to include in their crews different nationalities in order to maximize their gain, divide the crew and avoid all legal obligation.

_ The necessary steps be taken to ensure fish-workers proper and adequate accommodations, medical facilities, protective clothing and safety equipment while aboard DWVs.

National and international laws

_ National governments be asked to implement existing ILO standards and other conventions pertaining to the safety of fishworkers, S.O.L.A.S. and other conventions, such as Tremolino.

_ Each country be urged to pass a fisheries act and fisheries code, taking into account the interest of all inland fishworkers and sea-going workers; the welfare of fishworkers and their families be given due consideration.

_ The Taiwanese government be pressured to take suitable action to stop inhuman treatment aboard Taiwanese fishing fleets and ensure that proper contracts are signed and honoured; those responsible for violations of human rights aboard ships be punished; and proper compensation be given to families of those who are injured or killed at sea, be they national or overseas workers.

_ To ensure a sustainable development, all governments be encouraged to regulate fishing activities so that proper management of resources may be established, and destructive methods like pacific gillnets and abusive trawling be banned. Fishworker organizations be involved in designing, controlling and managing their marine resources.

Organizing fishworkers

_ Wherever there are national fishworker organizations, they be encouraged to look into the conditions and problems of fishworkers aboard DWVs and carry out actions to remedy their problems.

_ National fishworker organizations present, DWV fishworkers’ conditions to immigrant workers organizations and human rights groups for appropriate action.

_ ICSF bring to the attention of recognized international trade unions like ITF and people’s organizations the plight of third world fishworkers on DWVs.

_ Linkages and exchange of information be established among fishworker organizations of different countries.

Social and legal services

_ ICSF identify and involve professional groups, social agencies and lawyers interested in helping fishworkers.

_ ICSF explore the possibility of operating funds for legal and emergency needs of detained fishworkers and their families.

Research and documentation

_ ICSF begin to collect basic information on fish-workers and the DWV industry. This information which is already available in some institutions and organizations shall include the listing of industries, countries supplying/demanding labour, number of boats, systems of recruitment, accreditations, recruiting agencies, etc. This resolution also calls for an exchange of information among organizations.

_ In-depth and continuing studies be conducted on the problems and conditions of fishworkers by national fishworker organizations.


_ In-country and out-country programmes be drawn up by governments and institutions in areas pertaining to the development of fishing skills including the cultural, economic and political circumstances fishworkers are likely to encounter.


_ Extensive harnessing of media and other communication systems be promoted. Specific groups and institutions that are already actively involved in communication work be identified and linkage with them be arranged. Examples of these organizations are the Apostolate the Sea and PCT Fishermen Service Centre (Taiwan)

_ An exchange of instructional, informational and training materials be instituted. These materials also must include subjects on technical information concerning fishing, accident prevention, intercultural conditions, human rights, political situations, etc.

_ A regular ICSF publication be put out

_ Education and information put emphasis a value formation especially with respect to human rights and the promotion of relationship among individuals, sectors and countries.

_ Environmental concerns and conservation resources be stressed in the education and the training of fishworkers.

_ Fishworkers be given more opportunities to reflect and express themselves in meetings fora, outings and training lessons.