US law on illegal fishing is helping to combat human trafficking & safeguard worker rights, say experts

Author: Innovation Forum, Published on: 20 November 2015

While regulation frequently gets in the way of progress, there are signs that it might be helping the fight to combat illegal seafood...Most recently, the US adopted an anti-IUU law that will implement the United Nations Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU (PSMA). The agreement obliges signatories to tighten up their controls on fish catches entering their territory, and in effect creates a certified network of ports that are considered to have effective checks against IUU...Campaigners say that measures such as PSMA do work...Importantly, beyond ensuring the sustainability of legal fishing activities, tackling IUU is also needed in order to combat other serious related illegal activities, such as people trafficking, and to safeguard workers rights. Nick Kightley, a food and farming expert with the Ethical Trading Initiative, says that much IUU is organised, and those involved “know exactly what they’re doing.”
Workers on vessels involved in illegal fishing are vulnerable to exploitation. Making workers aware of their rights and demonstrating that they would be better off pursuing legitimate activities – if they are able to escape, of course, as forced labour is also a concern – is another part of the solution to IUU, Kightley says.

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