Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency enacts new crew welfare regulations
London. UK. Human Rights at Sea is pleased to report that as of 23 May 2019, the 17 member State Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) has enacted new agreed minimum terms and conditions in relation to crew employment conditions in support of enhanced protections for Pacific fisheries seafarers largely based on the ILO 188 Work in Fishing Convention.
The Harmonised Minimum Terms and Conditions for Access by Fishing Vessels (MTCs) are one of FFA Members’ key tools to regulate fishing access to their waters. They are a mechanism for setting agreed standards to apply in all FFA Members’ EEZs in support of the effective management of their fisheries resources. The MTCs apply to foreign fishing vessels licensed to fish in the EEZs of FFA Members. FFA Members can also apply them to their domestic fleets.
Legal application of the MTCs will occur through national legislation, regulations and/or licensing conditions.
Key paragraphs explicitly highly the requirement for respect and protection of international human rights standards, with the new standards to be enacted into national legislation in 2020.
Under the ‘Crew Employment Conditions’ is it stated that:
(c) The Operator shall observe and respect any form of basic human rights of the Crew in accordance with accepted international human right standards.
(d) The Operator shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that Crew are not assaulted or subject to torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment and shall treat all crew with fairness and dignity.
In the particulars of the Crew Agreement it further explicitly highlights that:
11. The right of termination by the Crew in the event of mistreatment and abuse;
12. The protection that will cover the Crew in the event of mistreatment and abuse, sickness, injury or death in connection with service;
Human Rights at Sea commented: “After a concerted effort in the region by both Government agencies, ILO, union representatives and civil society groups of which Human Rights at Sea was one organisation who has submitted four case studies highlighting terrible human rights abuses of Pacific fishers and their families, we are pleased to see the next steps taken by the FFA. The true test, however, will be the effective implementation of the Harmonised Minimum Terms and Conditions and transparent promulgation of effective remedies for dealing with all human rights abuses towards crew.”
Download Case Studies:
- The Killing of Fesaitu Raimkau: A Fijian Crewman in Panama
- A Family Perspective of deceased Fijian crewman who worked on Taiwanese Longliners
- Human Rights Abuse in Fijian Crewed Fisheries – The story of Josaia and Virisila Cama
- Pacific Fisheries Abuses: Testimony of Fijian Fishing Widows, Mother and Sister