Pacific fisheries bodies push to protect crews

Pacific fisheries bodies want the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission to adopt a resolution to ensure conditions for crew on fishing vessels meet international standards.

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Parties to the Nauru Agreement want fishing vessel labour standards adopted by the commission at this week's meeting in Honolulu.

They have written a draft resolution which the FFA said was in line with its goal of enhancing economic benefits for Small Island Developing States from employment on board fishing vessels licensed to fish in their exclusive economic zones.

FFA director general, Manu Tupou- Roosen, said the agency wanted better employment opportunities for its members but had to ensure the vessels provided safe working conditions with fair employment conditions.

A 'fisheries roadmap' adopted by Pacific leaders has set a target for Pacific Islanders to attain 33,000 jobs in the fishing industry by 2023.

At the moment there are about 23,000 Pacific Island employees across the sector, with 15,000 of these jobs in tuna processing, the vast majority being women.