7 September 2022
Industry Statement on The Pew Charitable Trusts report relating to estimates of fisher mortality, and calls for improvements in fisher safety reporting
The 35th Session of the Committee on Fisheries of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has highlighted that new research soon to be published by the Pew Charitable Trust, Lloyds Register Foundation, IMO, FISH Safety Foundation (FSF) and FAO, with contributions from many FAO Members, suggests that the number of fatalities within the fishing sector is likely much greater than 100,000 annually.
Previously, research by the ILO in 1999 and subsequently by FAO estimated that annual fisher deaths were in the region of 24,000 and 32,000 respectively, or 65 and 87 deaths per day. The safety of fishers has been an enduring problem for the wild capture seafood industry for many years.
Pew states that the drivers for this very high mortality rate include climate change and Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities, which push fishing vessels into unsafe waters, as well as insufficient oversight of vessel construction and operations.
We are committed to ensuring that the seafood we buy, and sell is sourced from responsible producers that have not engaged in activities that expose fishers to unsafe and harmful working conditions. In addition, many of the undersigned organisations already advocate for the ratification and effective implementation of the following key international agreements that will improve fisher safety and welfare: the IMO Cape Town Agreement, the ILO Work in Fishing Convention, the FAO Port State Measures Agreement, and the International Convention on Training, Certification and for Fishing Vessels Personnel.
We believe it is critically important to urgently improve data collection, and analysis of accidents and loss of life in the fishing industry. This will help us to understand the drivers behind these unacceptably high fatality rates and ensure that safety initiatives are developed and implemented based on robust data.
We the undersigned call on FAO Members to:
Support the development of a mechanism that can establish a data collection scheme and repository on global fisher accident and mortality rates.
As a collective voice the SEA Alliance will in specific instances support and engage with advocacy initiatives. The SEA Alliance will also make statements and respond when there are concerns about ethical issues in the supply chain.
These advocacy initiatives will always be supported by the great majority of SEA Alliance participants but they do not necessarily represent the views of every participant organisation on every occasion.
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