Empowerment of workers is central to the establishment of the rule of law, protection of human rights and safety in the seafood sector
The Second Regional technical workshop under the joint AOS/FAO programme “Joining forces in the fisheries sector: promoting safety, decent work, and the fight against IUU fishing” was held with the support on ITF Seafarers Trust in Maha, Seychelles, on May 21-23, 2019. It brought together government officials from the region’s Ministries of Labour, maritime and fisheries authorities, representatives of port inspectorates, trade unions, human rights organisations, and small-scale fishers’associations.
"Maha Call for Action" represents a detailed set of recommendations on achieving a synthesis of labour standards and safety and resource management regulations, based at the understanding that neither of it can be achieved in isolation from each other. At the suggestion of the trade union delegation lead by the ITF and the IUF, the workshop participants stressed that respecting and implementing the core ILO conventions, in particular, those on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining Rights (C87 and C98) is crucial to achieve sustainability in the fishing and fisheries sector.
Participants called for the inclusion of the Human Rights factor into the definition of IUU fishing, which currently covers the resource management regime only and is used by the European Union and the US to license access to their markets. A separate set of recommendations was also developed, concerning the responsibility of transnational corporations; participants welcomed the initiative to develop guidelines on corporate social responsibility in the global seafood value chain as an attempt to create a strong mechanism which would guide companies in the fulfilment of their obligations to respect human and labour rights in the sector and guarantee their workers full access to them.