FFA Members to push forward Fisheries Labour Standards at WCPFC

Members of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) are preparing to implement the draft Conservation and Management Measure (CMM) for improving labour standards and human rights, expected to be adopted at the 21st Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting in Fiji later this year.

At a recent interagency workshop in Fiji, FFA Members discussed ways to implement and enforce the draft WCPFC CMM on labour standards on fishing vessels.

“It is an absolute privilege to bring together our experts from fisheries, maritime and labour. For the first time ever, we’re joining forces on two goals. One, at national level, to ensure that our membership is set up to successfully implement labour standards. And two, at regional level, to continue this great momentum around adopting a Conservation and Management Measure for Labour Standards at the Tuna Commission at the end of the year,” FFA Director General Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen said.

The CMM is a set of rules agreed by the WCPFC to govern international fishing operations within the Pacific region, which has the largest tuna stock in the world. These measures aim to conserve tuna stocks, minimise by-catch, and ensure that marine ecosystems remain healthy over the long term.

Dr Tupou-Roosen stressed the importance of a “whole-of-government” approach, urging all relevant ministries to work together to implement the CMM and uphold labour standards.

“The Pacific’s tuna stocks are more than just a global commodity. By integrating strong labour standards into our management practices, we protect both the resource and the people whose lives and traditions are deeply connected to it,” she said.

The WCPFC, a regional fisheries management organisation, plays a key role in setting and enforcing the CMM. However, challenges remain in ensuring compliance and addressing the complex issues facing the fisheries industry.

The proposal to have a binding conservation and management measure for improving labour and crew welfare and human rights was unanimously passed at the 20th meeting of the WCPFC in Rarotonga, Cook Islands last year. This move was pushed by the 17 members of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency and WWF Pacific-led civil society organisations.

“We are committed to achieving this. We’re so encouraged by this work because it serves as a strong reminder that our people are at the centre of everything we do,” Dr Tupou-Roosen added.

The workshop was supported with funding by the European Union and the Government of Sweden’s Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme.

SUVA, 9 July 2024

Media Contact:
Ernest Ta'asi
FFA Communications Officer
e: ernest.ta’[email protected]
About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)
FFA assists its 17-member countries to sustainably manage fishery resources that fall within their 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA provides expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members who make decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management. Find out more here: www.ffa.int

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