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Concern Over Poor Work Conditions In Tuna Vessels

Concern Over Poor Work Conditions In Tuna Vessels
Minister for Fisheries and Forest Osea Naiqamu receives a gift from INFOFISH Director Dr Abdul Basir Kunhimohamed during the opening of the 5 th Pacific Tuna Forum at Sofitel and Spa Resort in Denarau yesterday. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA
September 23
10:33 2015

The fisheries industry was reminded on possibilities of improper employment and poor working conditions for those working on vessels away from familiar waters.

These were the comments made by the Pacific Dialogue Limited acting chief executive, Patricia Kailola, during the two-day Pacific Tuna Forum.

The 5th regional tuna and trade conference will conclude today at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau Island.

Ms Kailola said many a times when there is fishing away from home, the issues of saving cost in fisheries arises. With this comes the issue of improver employment and slavery.

“Fishers are tricked into employment and are forced to work in poor conditions at a lower pay normally due to language barriers,” she said.

However, Ms Kailola stressed this was a very common issue in the Pacific Island countries.

“There has been no report of fishing vessels poor crew conditions in the Pacific which is rather amazing when you recognise that the pacific is the largest tuna fishery in the world.”

“But we can’t assume that the entire vessel captain and everyone else on the vessels are perfect gentlemen.

“I sure that most of the people here who are working in the fisheries actually have seen much more poor conditions of the crews but have failed to report it.”

 

Pacific Islands

However, Ms Kailola highlighted an incident that occurred in the South pacific.

She said: “There is a lot of information about the abuse of the fishing vessel crews.

“The latest one is in Papua New Guinea and also to the West Papua in the past month or two.

“They discovered I think 13 vessels with hundreds of slave who were migrants who did not have papers.  They were being used to work on the troll fisheries.”

 

Action

Ms Kailola stressed there is always something that can be done to stop such abuse and non-compliance with the law.

“I am suggesting that if we actually can use the abuse of fisheries! If you use the abuse of the fishermen and the women in crisis at the factory you can do something,” she said.

“This is by going to the consumer and saying that that tuna in the tin was caught by slaves.”

Feedback: waisean@fijisun.com.fj

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