The IUF has welcomed the FAO Committee on Fisheries’ (COFI) adoption of the Declaration for Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture. The Declaration, adopted at the COFI’s 2021 session in February, calls on FAO member 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.”
The Declaration also recognizes the responsibility of states to ensure women’s empowerment in the fisheries and aquaculture sector through gender-based policies and effective action against discrimination and gender-based violence in the workplace.
Additional outcomes of COFI’s 2021 session include:
*Member states called for full recognition of the role of fisheries and aquaculture in the fight against poverty, hunger and malnutrition and expressed confidence in the sector’s “ability to prepare for and respond to changing climate and ocean conditions, and its commitment to sustainability”
*COFI’s role as “the main global forum for discussions and decisions on fisheries and aquaculture-related issues” was reaffirmed
The IUF participates in the COFI alongside our sister global union, the International Transport Workers Federation. A joint statement welcoming the commitments in the Declaration to improving working conditions can be found here.
IUF General Secretary Sue Longley commented, “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 organize so they can ensure through their trade unions ‘safe, healthy and fair working conditions for all in the sector.’”
*Photo credit: FAO