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On World Fisheries Day 2018, FAO and the Vatican call for decent work in the fisheries sector

Photo: ©FAO/Gonsalves
Small-scale fisheries communities begin their day on the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe
Photo: ©FAO/Napolitano
FAO and the Holy See first partnered on a World Fisheries Day event in 2016
Photo: ©FAO/Pareja
Ecuadoran fish workers filet the day’s catch at the landing site

One in ten people on the planet rely on fisheries and aquaculture to support their livelihoods. While the fisheries sector has made great strides in recent years in ensuring environmental sustainability of the fish that is caught, less attention has been focused on how to ensure the sector is socioeconomically sustainable – guaranteeing that all workers along fisheries’ long and complex value chain have access to decent employment. 

In celebration of World Fisheries Day, marked each year on 21 November, FAO and the Holy See are issuing a joint call for decent work in the fisheries sector.

An event entitled “Labour rights are human rights: working together to ensure the rights of fishers – fighting trafficking and forced labour in the fishing sector” will be held at FAO Headquarters 11:00-13:30 CET. The event, available in English, French, Spanish and Italian, will be webcast at the following link

A joint World Fisheries Day event between FAO and the Holy See was already held 21 November 2016. Like the event in 2016, a message from Pope Francis will be delivered from FAO Headquarters. His Eminence Cardinal Peter A. Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development will deliver Pope Francis’ address.

Opening addresses will be delivered by FAO’s Director-General Jose Graziano Da Silva, the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s Deputy Director-General Moussa Oumarou, and His Excellency Monsignor Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, Secretariat of State, The Holy See.

The second segment of the event includes a panel discussion about promoting decent work throughout the long fisheries value chain. FAO’s Felix Marttin will lead a panel comprised of FAO’s Nicole Franz, Europêche President Javier Garat Pérez, International Transport Workers Federation Luz Baz, Chairperson of FAO’s Sub-committee on Fish Trade Aurora De Blas Carbonero, and Caritas Internationalis’ Martina Liebsch.

Bringing various points of view to the discussion, panelists will explore ways forward and identify areas in which the various sectors can work together to achieve this objective. A question and answer session will follow, asking audience members to contribute their ideas and experiences to the discussions. Those watching the webcasting can also participate. Questions can be raised via Twitter, tagging @FAOfish and posing a question through the hashtag #decentworkquestion.

“We look forward to celebrating World Fisheries day once again with the Holy See,” according to Audun Lem, Deputy-Director, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. “This is a timely discussion since we are now undertaking work to draft a FAO Guidance Document on improving social responsibility along the fisheries value chain.” 

“The 33rd session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries, held last July in Rome, provided FAO with the mandate to draft these guidelines, which will be discussed in the FAO Sub-committee on Fish Trade, to be held in Norway in 2019. We are working to involve a wide range of stakeholders around the world during this consultation stage. Events like this, which spark constructive dialogue across the various stakeholders in the fisheries and aquaculture value chains, help us tremendously in this process.” 

If you are not with us for the event in Rome, you can follow live through webcasting, which will be archived for viewing after the events, or follow our live tweeting from @FAOfish and the hashtag #WorldFisheriesDay.

Wishing you a very happy World Fisheries Day!

Photo: © FAO/Napolitano
The 2016 FAO and the Holy See World Fisheries Day event in 2016 focused on slavery and forced labour on fishing vessels.
Photo: © FAO
Women drying fish in Somalia.
Photo: © FAO/Hammi
Women in Tunisia work in a seafood processing company.
Photo: © FAO/Kambou
Fishermen at work mending the nets in Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire.
Photo: © FAO/Napolitano
Join us for our World Fisheries Day 2018 event.
Photo: © FAO/Pareja
Small-scale fishermen landing the day’s catch in Santa Rosa, Ecuador.
Photo: © FAO/Catanzano
Women in Sal, Cabo Verde waiting for the fish to be landed.
Photo: © FAO/Economopoulis
Small-scale fishermen at port in Zarzis, Tunisia.

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