Recognising modern slavery in the fisheries industry as a serious crime places responsibility for enforcement with national criminal investigative and law enforcement institutions, rather than with fishing management bodies that are typically poorly equipped to deal with such criminal activities. There is an urgent need to ensure that consideration of modern slavery is brought to bear on other initiatives targeting illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing IUU from an environmental or markets perspective.
Governments and seafood traders can both play a role in improving seafood supply chain transparency, ensuring that seafood is legally caught, humanely produced, and honestly labelled. Legislative reforms should be introduced to improve vessel tracking, for example through mandatory adoption of ship tracking numbers and compulsory uptake of remote vessel monitoring technologies, which can assist in the identification of illegal activities such as the transshipment of catch or crew at sea.
Strengthened legislative requirements for auditing both social and environmental elements of seafood will provide greater support for seafood traceability organisations and seafood retailers to address labour practices. Incorporating labour practices in national supply chain policy and legislation would provide consumers with confidence that their seafood is both sustainable and ethically caught. Initiatives led by business that promote supply chain transparency inclusive of labour conditions can provide consumers with assurances that the seafood they purchase is at low-risk of modern slavery in its supply chain and motivate industry partners and competitors to improve their labour practices.
Increasing consumer awareness of the implications of their seafood choices needs to build on the work of NGOs such as the Marine Stewardship Council and Monterey Bay Aquarium in promoting sustainable seafood, and Fair Trade International in providing ethically produced products in other industries such as coffee. Enforcement and traceability can be bolstered through the use of technology, by reducing enforcement and detection costs, and by automating and safeguarding information flows within supply chains. This is relevant to both governments and businesses wanting to establish better governance in their fisheries labour markets.
For example, identification for fishers based on facial recognition, fingerprint identification, and the use of encryption algorithms such as blockchain technology can help simplify and render tamper-proof otherwise convoluted registration processes that are critical to:. Increasing transparency around crewing arrangements in the industry a strategy currently being piloted in the context of trafficked children 25 , and reducing the invisibility of crews.
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Subsidies support fishing that is no longer profitable by reducing capital and operating costs, thus sustaining fleet overcapacity and competition for already depleted resources. The capping or elimination of harmful subsidies, in conjunction with reduced fleet capacity, will ease pressure on already over-exploited marine resources and reduce a key driver of labour exploitation.
In conjunction with subsidy reduction, halting the current decline in global fisheries will require reducing industrial capacity e. Concurrently promoting the development and empowerment of sustainable and well-managed small-scale fisheries, especially in coastal developing countries, will increase the availability of sustainable livelihoods in fishing. For instance, funds from harmful subsidies could be directed towards the creation and maintenance of marine protected areas in coastal waters, which will promote rebuilding of vulnerable fish stocks.
Tighter and better enforced restrictions on industrial fishing on the high seas would reduce the complexity and cost of policing fisheries-related and labour crimes in the remotest areas of the oceans. The high seas are those areas of the oceans over which no individual country has territorial jurisdiction, and oversight of fishing operations, including the monitoring of labour practices, is normally limited by both capacity and the scale of the area to be monitored.
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While challenging, both practically and politically, tighter restrictions on high seas fishing by international fleets would increase the share of revenue captured by developing coastal nations, contributing to a reduction in the vulnerability of the populations currently at most risk of modern slavery. Overview G20 Countries Fishing Cocoa.
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A migrant worker seen through a window of a fishing boat that is docked in Thailand. Many migrants see little chance in Burma for a life of proper employment and so many make the choice to contact a broker that could help them get across the border illegally to work in Thailand as hotel staff or fishermen.
What are the risk factors for modern slavery in the fishing industry? A dependence on distant water fishing. High levels of vessel and fuel subsidies provided by the national government.
Relatively low per capita GDP of the fishing country. Low productivity fisheries have a more pressing need to reduce labour costs, as these are one of the few remaining costs that are not externally fixed. This represents weak fisheries governance and a lack of legal oversight. Illegal fishing, a major component of unreported fishing, causes billions of dollars in losses to economies around the world each year, and poorly managed fisheries are lawless markets.
Table 1 Fishing countries classified by National Fisheries Policy catch outside EEZ, distant water fishing, and subsidies , and Wealth and Institutional Capacity GDP per capita, value landed per fisher, and unreported landings Recommendations: Reducing modern slavery in the fishing industry Almost all countries either catch or consume fish, and fishing plays a pivotal role in the livelihoods of millions of people around the world.
Governments and businesses need to focus on the following combination of strategies: 1. Establish a platform that enables labour standards to be protected Minimum international standards for working conditions should be mandatory and enforced so that migrant workers can be sure of benefiting from employment in fishing. Recognise and respond to modern slavery in fisheries as serious and organised crime Forced labour, slavery, and debt bondage in the fishing industry clearly fall within the recognised definition of serious crime, undertaken by organised criminal groups.
Tracking the international movements of vulnerable fishers. Recognise and address the link between subsidies, industrial over-capacity, and labour abuses Subsidies support fishing that is no longer profitable by reducing capital and operating costs, thus sustaining fleet overcapacity and competition for already depleted resources. Balsa the border collie is lucky to be alive after swallowing a fishing hook and more than a metre of line when out on a pre-dawn walk on the Sunshine Coast last Friday.
The high school teacher said she was on a walk with a friend and Balsa swallowed the hook and line on Friday just after am. Balsa was rushed to a hour animal hospital and was immediately sedated and x-rayed, confirming the fishing hook was lodged in the dog's stomach.
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The veterinarian tried dislodging the hook through Balsa's mouth with the help of an endoscope, but to no avail, so the dog was taken into surgery. Balsa was released from the vet surgery about 12 hours later, spent the day on a drip and left with a massive surgical scar and pain relief for the coming days. Dr Danielle Huston from Tanawah Animal Emergency Service, which treated Balsa, said the border collie was one of four dogs brought to them in the space of a week after swallowing fishing hooks.
And it's a life-threatening problem, it's pretty serious," she said. I work at this clinic and at Underwood [south of Brisbane] and I've seen so many more since moving to the coast … it's certainly not uncommon. We had a cat that stood on one in the shed at home and it went through their paw. Dr Huston said any pet owners suspecting their animal has swallowed a fishing hook or line should immediately seek veterinary help.
The potential of it passing through without causing a problem is very low. Topics: animals , human-interest , oceans-and-reefs , mooloolaba , qld , maroochydore , brisbane First posted July 30, Contact Patrick Williams. More stories from Queensland.
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