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Pacific: Forum Fisheries Agency to introduce measures to improve fishing crew welfare and pay

Author: Peni Komaisavai & Samantha Magick, Islands Business, Published on: 18 September 2019

"Keeping our seafarers safe", July 2019

In what has been called a ‘landmark decision’, Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) member states are to include crew employment conditions in minimum requirements for fishing licenses...

The decision to address these concerns also comes on the heels of a Business and Human Rights Resource Centre report that alleges canned tuna brands are “failing to tackle modern slavery in their Pacific supply chains.” That report alleges that “severe human rights abuse is endemic, including forced labour, slavery, human trafficking and child labour, and reports of migrant workers bought and sold as slaves and tossed overboard if they complain or get injured.”

...Fishing vessel operators will now be required to take formal responsibility for the health, welfare and safety of a crew member while he or she is on board the vessel, and ensure they meet decent standards in respect of salary and conditions for all crew.

...Human Rights at Sea...founder David Hammond says...“What we have found is that by highlighting in documents, naming and shaming through corroborating, the issue of brand being brought into disrepute which then goes to boards and shareholders, is the most effective tool for people to start engaging to a degree.”

...[T]he Business & Human Rights Resource Centre...report’s authors say “four of the 35 companies surveyed (Thai Union, Kraft Heinz Australia, Target and REWE Group) said they conduct due diligence specifically to uncover modern slavery in their supply chains, while 80 percent of companies failed to disclose where in the Pacific their tuna comes from, with only 20 percent saying they have mapped their entire supply chains.”

“Migrant workers are particularly vulnerable.... There are frequent reports of identity documents being confiscated, trapping workers in forced labour; the supply of forged identity documents rendering men stateless; and captains leaving crew stranded on remote islands as punishment, or simply because they are no longer required for work,” ....

Read the full post here