Treaties for fishers’ labour rights – New project on the horizon led by HRC on behalf of the Fisheries Governance Project (FGP)

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July 25, 2023
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Humanity Research Consultancy (HRC) is beginning a new project on behalf of the Fisheries Governance Project (FGP) to address the landscape of treaties concerning labour protection and conditions for workers on fishing vessels.

The FGP is a collaboration focused on three promising opportunities. First, advancing fisheries governance of both ecological and labor rights in seafood through the mapping of, and envisioned future engagement in, international treaties and their incorporation into relevant national laws. Second, exploring existing asks of industry at the intersection of IUU and labor rights to both build understanding between labor and environmental sustainability advocates, as well as to seek opportunities for alignment. And third, to improve enforcement and victim protection, considering how better information flows could strengthen or create consequences and deterrence for illegal and abusive actions.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Work in Fishing Convention (ILO C188) is one of the most prominent international conventions addressing the human rights of fishers. However, among all nations with vigorous fishing industries, only a small number of countries have ratified ILO C188. Moreover, ILO C188 has been poorly implemented in many states that have ratified it.This project aims to support civil society and the workers’ representative groups in key fishing nations to advocate for the ratification and/or implementation of this convention.

In this project, the HRC team plans to examine the current status of ILO C188 in a broad range of countries, as well as analyse the underlying reasons behind these countries’ decision of (not) ratifying this convention.

Furthermore, the team will identify key strategies and stakeholders that are able to encourage fishing nations to adopt or better implement ILO C188 into their countries’ fishery management systems.

The HRC team will be working with FGP Treaties working group to develop a report and recommendations to inform relevant future research and advocacy activities.