Global union federations the IUF and the ITF have welcomed the adoption of the Declaration for Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture at the 34th Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) Committee on Fisheries (COFI), which concluded earlier this month.
In particular, the unions welcome the commitment from states to ‘Promote the attainment of safe, healthy and fair working conditions for all in the sector, support efforts to prevent and halt forced labour, facilitate access to social protection programmes for fishers and aquaculture producers and their communities, support measures to improve safety at sea, and work towards enhancing the standards of living for all in the sector, in cooperation with other relevant international organizations, including the International Labour Organization and the International Maritime Organization.’
IUF and ITF also welcomed the recognition of the role of women in achieving food security and that COFI member states have a role to play in ensuring ‘women’s empowerment by enhancing women’s full access to and equal opportunities in the fisheries and aquaculture sector through gender-based policies, taking effective action against discrimination and abuse in the workplace, facilitating women’s access to education and training…and providing equal opportunities at all levels, including for leadership and decision making, and by combating systemic gender inequalities that disadvantage women.’
The Declaration also recognises the progress of coordinated measures by states in the protection of ocean environments and preservation of bio resources, achieved since the adoption of the Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries in 1995.
‘We welcome the recognition of the importance of fisheries and aquaculture, but the fight against poverty and hunger must start within the sector itself; workers must have the right to organise so they can ensure through their trade unions ‘safe, healthy and fair working conditions for all in the sector,’ said IUF General Secretary Sue Longley