ITF calls for tuna transshipment moratorium

05 May 2017
Tuna transshipment

ITF says tuna long-line vessels currently operate with minimal supervision

International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) is calling for a suspension of high seas transshipment by tuna long-line vessels in the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea, until companies implement fair labour standards to protect workers.

Thai fishers and their migrant counterparts from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos currently face unnecessarily poor working conditions and human and labour rights violations, ITF has stated.

ITF fisheries section chair and Norwegian Seafarers' Union president, Johnny Hansen, said: “Fishers of all nationalities deserve to have basic safety and health protections, work in an environment free from physical or mental abuse, and have the right to organise/freely associate to protect themselves. Too often, fishers are beaten or even killed for asserting their rights, and it’s time for us to take action against transshipment to protect everyone on the high seas.”

Tuna long-line vessels currently operate with minimal supervision and most do not have an observer on board, says ITF. It stresses that this limits the ability to determine the numbers and species of tuna caught, allows transshipment to occur, and contributes to a system that allows violation of employment rights with impunity, with no opportunity for victims to report or escape abuse.

ITF believes that current regulations and penalties have minimal deterrent effect, and are generally unenforced and there needs to be more monitoring, control and surveillance of long line tuna fleets throughout the supply chain.

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