The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) together with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) organized the Third Regional Technical Seminar on Decent Work in the Fisheries sector in Accra, Ghana on the 8 to11 October 2019.
The four-day event included participants from FCWC Member States (Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo), the International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), workers’ movements, NGOs and representatives from the fisheries industry to increase awareness on the protection of human rights in the fishing sector along with the main legal frameworks covering the issues of IUU fishing, safety onboard fishing vessels and decent working conditions.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the seminar, FCWC Secretary-General Seraphin Dedi shared his hope that policymakers help “formulate a regional strategic plan with programmes [..] in the fisheries sector for the mutual benefit of actors along the fisheries value chain in West Africa.”
Participants actively contributed during the issue-identification and action-formulation sessions where they discussed ways to increase political commitment and the development of regional/national actions and measures to fight labour abuses and IUU fishing in the fishing sector. The Accra Call for Action identified themes including knowledge deficiencies, fundamental principles, and rights at work and safety-at-sea for which related actions must be taken to address safety, decent work and the fight against IUU fishing.
The FCWC was specifically requested to raise the awareness of national authorities on labour and safety issues in the fisheries sector; to explore the involvement of the sector’s workers representatives as legitimate stakeholders in its regional mechanisms; to conduct a survey on the status of safety at sea onboard fishing vessels; to promote social dialogue within the subregion on fisheries sector worker’s rights; and to organize a regional meeting to discuss these issues and related ones in the FCWC area.