Industry, NGOs and UN want socially, environmentally and commercially sustainable fisheries
Participants in a side event on social issues held during the current 33rd session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) session have made clear that despite the progress in health and safety operations, insufficient attention has been given by governments to the implementation of essential principles of international law for the protection of fishing people, making fishing remain a hazardous activity.
In order to bridge this gap, participants widely called for the development, in close cooperation with UN agencies, of an effective roadmap for the rapid worldwide implementation of the international agreements relating to work and safety in the fishing sector.
The side event was hosted by the European Social Partners in the Fisheries Sector together with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the European Commission and the Holy See, during the COFI session taking place in Rome. A subsidiary body of the UN Food & Agriculture Organization, COFI is a forum where global agreements and instruments are at the heart of the discussions, thereby creating the perfect platform to get the message on the social dimension of fisheries across all countries.
Following a brief overview of existing legislation at international and regional level, panellists provided advice on how to overcome obstacles and shortcomings to better protect fishermen and fight against IUU fishing, which is widely associated with crimes involving the safety and welfare of crews.
Key speakers from the fishing industry (employers, trade unions), the civil society (The Pew Charitable Trusts) and international organisations such as FAO, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea instruments showed the actions and tools implemented by their organisations to improve and raise awareness on the social dimension of fisheries.
There was a unanimous call towards widespread ratification of the international instruments for safety at sea in fishing and the protection of fishersâ€™ lives.
â€˜We urge UN agencies to establish a focus working group to identify what needs to be done, time frames, roles and responsibilities for the various stakeholders. Only through a solid roadmap we will be able to close the gap and better understand how to implement such measures,â€™ said Ment van der Zwan, employersâ€™ spokesman on the EU social dialogue committee on sea fisheries.
â€˜International actors cannot continue working in silos,â€™ Fleming Smidt, workersâ€™ spokesman on the EU social dialogue committee on sea fisheries stated. â€˜The cooperation between international bodies, governments and stakeholders is fundamental to make fishing a well-regulated, safe and responsible activity. We therefore invite policy-makers to lay the foundations, and make progress on the social dimension of fisheries to ensure a true level of sustainability at global level.â€™
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