NEWS, EVENTS, BRIEFINGS AND MORE…
Workers on Board !
Unions in the Philippines have called on the government to enforce the rights of workers on board fishing vessels. Specifically, the Citra Mina Workers Union, with the support of their national organization (SENTRO) and the International Union of Food Workers (IUF), is pushing for the government to implement legislation enforcing the rights of workers on fishing vesselswhich was promulgated but never implemented.
DO 156-16which establishes minimum social standards on Philippines-registered commercial fishing vesselwas adopted in June 2016, following a year of union campaigning and public action. However, it was suspended’ due to industry lobbying, and has never been implemented.
The union began circulating a petition in February this year, calling on the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) to implement the government order. Signature gathering has intensified since a government consultation in June involving the industry, though SENTRO indicated that the government has little appetite for implementation, and could even even repeal the regulation.
The petition, which has, to date, been signed by over 9,000 fishing-industry workers, will be submitted to DOLE representatives in time for the annual National Tuna Congress scheduled for 7-8 September 2017. It will also be submitted to to the chairpersons of the Committee of Labour in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The unions will also be pushing for Congressional inquiries into the situation of workers in the fishing industry.
Workers in Agadir, Morocco, took out a march in support of rights for the DOHA fishworkers’ union. Activists from around the country travelled to Agadir on 31 December 2016 to show their support for the more than 500 workers dismissed by the DOHA Fish Canning Company, following a strike and lockout in 2015, and to denounce the court-ordered seizure of the union leader’s apartment.
Members of the national union and their supporters men and women from Agadir came out to welcome the protest demonstration that stretched for several kilometres from the outskirts of the city to the central square. The march of anger’ then advanced along the main avenue and towards the beach area, where protestors formed a human chain, facing the lines of policemen who had been put on full alert, to demand justice for union President Abdullah Rakhmoun and the DOHA workers, and an end to the use of the courts to curtail fundamental rights. DOHA, a major exporter of processed fish products, is part of the wealthy BICHA Group.
Enslaved at Sea
Working on a boat amidst violence and abuse, in the middle of the ocean where you can’t see the shoreit seemed like there was no future for us at all.
This description is taken from the account of an unnamed Myanmar national, tricked and forced into labour aboard Thai fishing vessels, in the Greenpeace report Turning the Tide. He is, sadly, not in the minority. More than 1.5 mn labour migrants are settled in Thailand, with around 300,000 in the fishing industry alone. Many of them face mistreatment, and witness abuses that have drawn comparisons to modern-day slavery. Tricked and manipulated into fishing work, migrants, originating predominantly from Myanmar and Cambodia, can spend months at sea, where basic nutrition and provisions are largely absent.
Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI)
After nearly two years of extensive discussions, a FiTI International Advisory Group, composed of representatives from governments, large-scale and small-scale fishing sector organizations, multinational and regional fisheries organizations and civil society groups working on fisheries and marine conservation, has come up with an agreement on what information on fisheries should be published online by public authorities to contribute to more sustainable fisheries management.
This agreementthe FiTI Standardwas adopted at the 2nd International Conference of the FiTI and now enables countries all around the world to start implementing the initiative. The FiTI Standard provides governments, the fishing industry (large-scale and small-scale), and civil society with a comprehensive and credible way to achieve and maintain high levels of transparency on the management of the marine fisheries sector and the activities of fishers and fishing companies. Designed to ensure that any country can implement it, including those whose resources for collating information are limited, the FiTI Standard is based on the principle of progressive improvement, supporting countries in strengthening their information system overtime.
Yet, the FiTI recognizes that it is not only the availability of information that counts; it is also essential that the information is perceived as credible and useful. And this challenge is unlikely to be met by a single actor or stakeholder group alone.
The FiTI is built on the principle that relevant, credible and usable information can only be provided if all relevant stakeholder groups work together, contributing their own expertise and skills.
The FiTI is implemented in countries through National Multi-Stakeholder Groups, consisting of representatives from government, business and organized civil society.
These groups make decisions on how the FiTI is implemented in their countries, and must also work collectively to assess whether information in the public domain is perceived as accessible and complete, and make recommendations on how to improve information published by national authorities.
This multi-stakeholder approach ensures that all perspectives are incorporated and that actors who are sometimes excluded, such as small-scale fishers, are associated to the process. by Sven Biermann, Director, FiTI International Secretariat
The FiTI Standard is an agreement on what information on fisheries should be published online by public authorities. It provides governments, the fishing industry (both large-scale and small-scale), and civil society with a comprehensive and credible way to achieve and maintain high levels of transparency on the management of the marine fisheries sector and the activities of fishers and fishing companies. Specifically, for large-scale fisheries:
Implementing countries must provide an online, up-to-date registry of all nationally flagged and foreign-flagged large-scale vessels authorized to fish in the country’s marine jurisdictional waters, and of all nationally flagged large-scale vessels authorized to fish in third countries’ marine jurisdictional waters and on the High Seas,including the following information:
The name of the vessel
The legal owner of the vessel, including their address and nationality
The registered port of the vessel
The flag state of the vessel
The unique identification number(s) of the vessel
The type of vessel, according to fishing gear or fishing method, following the definition set in the country’s legislation
The physical characteristics of the vessel, including length, beam, tonnage and engine power
The name of the vessel’s agent, if applicable
The access agreement under which the vessel is granted authorization to fish, if applicable
The type of fishing authorization held by the vessel
The quantity and names of target species, permissible by-catch and discards that the vessel is authorized to fish, if specified in the vessel’s fishing authorization
The duration of the fishing authorization, indicating start and end date
The rights holder for whom the vessel is fishing, if applicable, including the name and nationality of the rights holder
The country and/or regions of the High Seas where the vessel is authorized to fish (applicable for nationally flagged vessels operating in third countries or on the High Seas)
Payments for fishing
Implementing countries must publish accessible and complete information on payments made by each vessel listed under B.1.5 for their fishing activities:
The name of the natural person or legal entity that made the payment
The name of the national authority who received the payment
The date on which payment was received by the national authority
The purpose of the payment
Information on payments to port authorities must be separated from payments for fishing activities
Recorded catch data
Implementing countries must publish information from vessels listed under B.1.5 (Vessel registry):
Catches by nationally flagged vessels: The quantity of annual recorded retained catch according to species or species groups, disaggregated by fishing authorizations or gear type as well as marine jurisdictional waters, High Seas and third country waters, presented for the flag state
Catches by foreign-flagged vessels: The quantity of annual recorded retained catch according to species or species groups, disaggregated by fishing authorizations or gear type, presented for each flag state separately
Landings in national ports: The quantity of annual recorded landings in national ports according to species or species groups caught in the country’s marine jurisdictional waters, disaggregated by fishing authorizations or gear types, presented for each flag state separately
Transhipments and landings in foreign ports: The quantity of annual recorded transhipments at sea or landings in foreign ports according to species or species groups caught in the country’s marine jurisdictional waters, disaggregated by fishing authorizations or gear types, presented for each flag state separately
Implementing countries must publish information on recorded quantities of discards according to species or species groups, disaggregated by fishing authorizations or gear types, presented for each flag state separately, if available. Information must be published on how information on discards is gathered by national authorities.
Implementing countries must publish the most recent studies and reports on recorded fishing effort by vessels, disaggregated by fishery or gear type and by flag state, if available.
Implementing countries must publish evaluations or audits of the economic, social and food security contribution of the large-scale fishing sector, if available.
Implementing countries must publish information on the small-scale fisheries sector:
The total numbers of small-scale fishing vessels, disaggregated according to categories of fishing or gear types as set out in the national legislation
The total number of fishing licences issued to small-scale fishing vessels, disaggregated according to categories of fishing authorizations as set out in the national legislation
The total numbers of fishers engaged in the fishing sector, indicating the gender of fishers and the proportion that are engaged in full-time work, seasonal or part-time fishing, occasional fishing or recreational fishing
The total payments made from small-scale fisheries related to fishing authorizations, catches and landings, disaggregated according to categories of fishing authorizations or gear types as set out in national legislation and indicating the recipient of these payments
The quantity of catches, disaggregated according to species, categories of fishing authorizations and gear types as set out in the national legislation
The total volumes of discards, disaggregated according to species, categories of fishing authorizations and gear types as set out in the national legislation
Implementing countries must publish the most recent studies and reports on quantities and species of fish discarded by the small-scale fisheries sector, if available
Implementing countries must publish evaluations or audits of the economic, social and food security contribution of the small-scale fisheries sector, if available.
Post-harvest Sector and Fish Trade
Implementing countries must publish information on the post-harvest sector and fish trade:
Total quantity of fish and fish products produced, disaggregated by species and fish products
The total quantity of imports of fish and fish products, disaggregated by species and fish products, indicating the country of their origin
The total quantities of exports of fish and fish products, disaggregated by species and fish products, indicating the country of their destination
The total number of people employed in commercial fisheries sectors, including the number of men and women working in specific sub-sectors.
The total number of people employed in informal fisheries sectors, including the number of men and women working in specific sub-sectors
Implementing countries must publish reports or studies on wages in the post-harvest sector, if available.
INFOLOG: NEW RESOURCES AT ICSF
ICSF’s Documentation Centre (dc.icsf.net) has a range of information resources that are regularly updated. A selection
Decent Work for Migrant Fishers: Report for discussion at the Tripartite Meeting on Issues Relating to Migrant Fishers
(Geneva, 1822 September 2017), International Labour Office, Sectoral Policies Department, Geneva. ILO. 2017.
This report has been prepared by the ILO as a basis for discussions at the Tripartite Meeting on Issues Relating to Migrant Fishers to be held from 18 to 22 September 2017 in Geneva. It provides an overview of the issues faced by migrant fishers and relevant work under way to address these issues.
The Small-scale Fisheries Guidelines: Global Implementation.
(Geneva, 1822 September 2017), International Labour Office, Sectoral Policies Department, Geneva. ILO. 2017.
Jentoft, S., Chuenpagdee, R., Barragán-Paladines, M.J., Franz, N. (Eds.). 2017. MARE Publication Series, Springer International Publishing.
This book contains in-depth case studies where authors discuss the extent to which the Guidelines can help improve the realities of small-scale fishing men and women globally and make their livelihoods and communities more secure. This book asks whether states can successfully walk the talk, and provides advice as to how they can do so.
Community Fisheries Organizations of Cambodia: Sharing Processes, Results and Lessons Learned in the Context of the Implementation of the SSF Guidelines.
Kurien, John. 2017. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1138. Rome, Italy.
The institution of community fisheries (CFi) organizations in Cambodia provides an interesting case for the empowerment of small-scale fisheries. The document pulls together findings from two activities carried out in the context of the development and implementation of the SSF Guidelines in Cambodia.
Decent Rural Employment in Small-scale and Semi-industrial Fishing Sectors in Costa Rica: Case Study. Solórzano-Chaves, E.;
Solís-Rivera, V.; Ayales-Cruz, I. 2017. FAO, Rome.
This case study explores the living and working conditions in the small-scale and semi-industrial fishing sectors in Costa Rica to increase the knowledge base in relation to decent work in fisheries. It draws on a bibliographic review, as well as on focus-group discussions and key informant interviews.
Climate Justice in Sápmi
The indigenous Saami live in the Arctic regions of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia, at the frontlines of climate change. Áslat Holmberg, a fisherman and politician, explains how this kind of green colonialism’ makes it harder and harder to keep Saami livelihoods, traditional heritage and culture alive.
Considering the need for decent work, sea safety and responsible fisheries, it is time for all ASEAN Member States to ratify the ILO Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (C.188)
Indonesia, the home to one of the largest population of active fishers in the worldsecond only to Chinahas completed a comprehensive gap analysis of its legislation against those provisions called for in C.188. The Philippines, another important fishing nation, is also undertaking a similar gap analysis. Thailand, arguably the largest employer of migrant fishers in the world, has amended its national regulation using C.188, to bring about unprecedented changes to its regulatory framework in fishing.
The Philippine system to protect the working and living conditions of its migrant fishersshared at the Jakarta Meetingis worth emulating for other labour-supplying States such as Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. The gap analyses have highlighted the need for a co-ordinated mechanism to effectively deal with overlapping issues related to labour, safety and sustainable fishing at the national level.
In this respect Indonesia and the Philippines provide some good examples…
The new legislation in New Zealand, to assert flag-State responsibility, requiring all fishing vessels to fly the New Zealand flag to eliminate time charters as well as exploitative working conditions and illegal fishing sets a good example for fishing vessels in the ASEAN region. The coming into force of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) in three of the ten ASEAN Member countries augurs well for the region, considering that the scope of its applicationas clarified during the Jakarata Meetingincludes carrier vessels often used for holding, exchanging and even trafficking fishers at sea. ILO should include working and living conditions on board these carrier vessels in the reporting requirements of States where MLC, 2006, has entered into force, particularly the ASEAN Member States…
We hope C.188 becomes the template for all ASEAN Member States to improve working and living conditions on board fishing vessels and thus to deal effectively with the reported abuse of migrant fishers.
from Comment in SAMUDRA Report No. 71, August 2015
Tripartite Meeting on Issues Relating to Migrant Fishers,
18-22 September 2017, Geneva, Switzerland
The meeting will discuss issues relating to migrant fishers.
The World Forum of Fisher People’s (WFFP) 7th General Assembly,
15-21 November 2017, New Delhi, India
The fishworkers’ movements like NFF and many other fisher peoples’ associations from 50 countries will participate.
Special Symposium at the 11th Indian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum,
21-24 November 2017, Kerala, India
The Symposium on GAF-India will be held as part of the 11th Indian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum.
IUF: Fisheries and Aquaculture Workers’ Network
IUF believes that workers’ collective action as the only way to improve working conditions and livelihoods.
World Forum of Fisher Peoples
WFFP is a mass-based social movement of small-scale fisher people from across the world.
Family Farming Knowledge Platform
It provides a single access point for international, regional and national information related to family farming issues.