Electronic Monitoring for Social Responsibility – HRC’s new project with Conservation International

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February 27, 2024
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In July 2023, HRC began a new project, “Electronic Monitoring for Social Responsibility,” funded by Conservation International (CI). Electronic monitoring (EM) in longline fishing involves the use of advanced technological systems, such as cameras and sensors, to monitor and record fishing activities, catch, and bycatch on fishing vessels. EM is generally used in order to enhance fisheries management and promote sustainable practices. This project aims to research the use of EM systems on fishing vessels for social compliance and promoting human rights.

HRC has successfully concluded the initial phase of the project, focusing on a comprehensive landscape analysis. This involved conducting interviews with stakeholders in the private sector and undertaking extensive desk research on Taiwan’s policies related to EM systems on fishing vessels. The research also delved into action plans and regulations concerning the rights of fishers, examining the connection between EM and social compliance at sea.

The primary purposes of the first phase were twofold. Firstly, the aim was to gain a comprehensive understanding of the potential applications of EM in ensuring social compliance on distant water fishing vessels flagged under Taiwan. Secondly, the phase sought to collect valuable insights from pertinent industry stakeholders regarding their perspectives on EM for monitoring decent work at sea.

HRC has produced a case study report based on the data collected during the landscape analysis. Focusing on Taiwan’s context, the report supports workers’ power as well as addresses concerns including privacy, fishers taking videos onboard, and policy in Taiwan. The report also incorporates perspectives from industry members.

The implementation of EM in Taiwan is examined through various types of equipment used on Taiwanese-flagged vessels, especially closed-circuit television (CCTV); issues surrounding informed consent; confidentiality; data ownership and sharing; and the associated installation and operation fees. Specific examples illustrating the application of EM on Taiwanese-flagged vessels are also presented for a more nuanced understanding.

The second phase of this project began in December 2023. During this phase, the HRC team has collected fishers’ perspectives on the use of EM on their vessels through interviews and port visits. Indonesian fishers with prior experience on tuna longliners are the focal point of our study. The HRC team expects to gain insights into the types of labour issues that can be effectively monitored and addressed through the implementation of EM systems onboard distant water fishing vessels. Ultimately, our goal is to comprehend how EM might be effectively utilised to bolster the protection of workers at sea.

You can keep up to date with the project’s development through our website and social media accounts.