During the plenary session of the European social dialogue committee for sea fisheries held last week, ETF and Europêche adopted a joint resolution establishing benchmark principles aimed at better regulating the proliferation of sustainability labels certifying social conditions on board fishing vessels. The intention is to avoid social-washing labels while stressing the importance of the ILO “Work in Fishing” Convention C188 as guardian of human and labour rights of fishers at sea, which cannot be replaced or substituted by private schemes.
The European Social Partners in the Sea Fisheries Sector (ETF and Europêche) were proud to host yesterday a webinar on the ILO Work in Fishing Convention (C188) considering its value in ensuring effective protection of the rights of fishers at global level. The event was successfully organised in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the European Commission and representatives of important fishing nations such as France, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom. High-ranked panellists widely called for the ratification and implementation of the ILO C188 and its EU equivalent, EU Directive 2017/159, by addressing the barriers and the benefits of implementing the social standards established in the C188 for the protection of workers.
This week, the Council adopted a regulation setting autonomous EU tariff quotas (ATQs) for certain fishery products for the years 2019 and 2020. The ATQ regulation covers species such as tuna, Alaska pollack, cod or flatfish for which a relatively high volume can be imported from non-EU countries at a reduced or zero-duty tariff. Up to 750.000 tonnes of fish will benefit from this scheme and will enter the European markets regardless of their origin, way of production, sustainability of the stock, labour standards or even if the third country has been identified by the EU for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Europêche believes that, in many cases, ATQs serve the sole purpose of getting a better price from non-EU producers, while putting pressure on EU producers’ prices and employment.
On the occasion of the World Fisheries Day, the FAO and the Holy See joined forces once again to host a successful event focusing international attention on the fair treatment and well-being of fishers around the globe. Europêche, on behalf of the EU fishing industry, participated together with international organizations, government representatives, trade unions and relevant stakeholders in this year’s event titled ‘Labour rights are human rights: working together to ensure the rights of fishers – fighting trafficking and forced labour in the fishing sector’. United Nations specialized agencies in fisheries and their Member states were urged to work together to promote the ratification, implementation and enforcement of internationally agreed social standards to support the livelihoods of 38 million fishers in the planet.
Yesterday, 28 February 2017, during a seminar organised by the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) in the framework of the European Shipping Week, Thierry Coquil, Director for Maritime Affairs in the French administration, delivered a message of the French Secretary of State for Transport Alain Vidalies, which also included concerns on fisheries.