Launch of SEA Fisheries Project: Strengthening coordination to combat labour exploitation and trafficking in fisheries

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has launched the SEA Fisheries project to combat human trafficking in fisheries in Southeast Asia.

Press release | Jakarta, Indonesia | 30 November 2017
JAKARTA (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) has launched the SEA Fisheries project to combat human trafficking in fisheries in Southeast Asia. Funded by the United States Department of State through the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP), the SEA Fisheries Project aims to strengthen coordination at the national and regional levels through establishing a regional coordination body that specialises in the fishing sector.

Indonesia is the world’s second-largest producer of marine capture, with production just exceeding 6 million tonnes. In 2014, the fisheries sector contributed around 4 percent to the nation’s GDP. Around 2.6 million Indonesians work as fishers at-sea in 550,000 fishing boats.

This meeting is a significant step forward in Indonesia and the Southeast Asia region to ensure the decent work for the fishers. As trafficking is a transnational as well as a national issue, a strong commitment to strategic coordination between countries in the region will improve the ability of each country to address labour exploitation and trafficking in fisheries."

Michiko Miyamoto, Country Director of the ILO in Indonesia
Fishing is recognised as a hazardous occupation. Fishers in commercial fishing operations face long working hours, dangerous weather conditions, and hazardous marine environments. Fishers on vessels that operate at high seas live and work on board, often for extended periods in relatively confined spaces and in isolation at sea far from help in terms of distance and time.

As fishers work at sea, they often fall through gaps in laws, regulations and measures that countries have established to protect workers. Even where legal protections are in place, the monitoring of working conditions of fishers and enforcement of legislation is a challenge because fishers are on board vessels at sea, often for extended periods of time.

In recent years, the Government of Indonesia has made significant efforts towards ensuring decent working conditions for fishers by strengthening regulation of work conditions on board fishing vessels, as well as combatting illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing in Indonesian waters.

Through the Work in Fishing Convention (No. 188), ILO promotes decent living and working conditions for all fishers. The SEA Fisheries Project aims to support these national efforts by strengthening regional coordination to maximise the effectiveness of existing initiatives. The project covers ten Southeast Asian countries with Indonesia as one of the priority countries. The project works closely with national stakeholders and partners from government, trade unions, and employers, as well as other community organisations and private sector stakeholders.

The inaugural National Meeting was held in Jakarta on 30 November 2017. The meeting provided a forum for discussion among relevant stakeholders from government, trade unions, and employers on identifying key issues and opportunities for Indonesia in combating trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation in the fisheries sector through a regional coordination mechanism. Mr Sujatmiko from the Coordinating Ministry of Human Development Cultural Affairs and Mr Hermano from BNP2TKI will be giving the opening addresses.

Meanwhile, Mr Arif Havas Oregroseno from the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs will be presenting closing address. This meeting was attended by the representative from Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture, Coordinating Ministry fro Marine Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Ministry of Manpower, BNP2TKI, Task Force 115, the Indonesian Employers' Association (Apindo), the Indonesian Tuna Association (Astuin), manning agent association and representative from trade union and fishers organization.

Michiko Miyamoto, Country Director of the ILO in Indonesia, emphasized the importance of regional coordination in addressing the labour exploitation and trafficking in the fishery sector since this need multi-stakeholder approach and intervention.

“This meeting is a significant step forward in Indonesia and the Southeast Asia region to ensure the decent work for the fishers. As trafficking is a transnational as well as a national issue, a strong commitment to strategic coordination between countries in the region will improve the ability of each country to address labour exploitation and trafficking in fisheries,” said Michiko.

For further information please contact:

Mi Zhou
Project Manager of the SEA Fisheries Project
Tel.: +6221 3913112 ext. 108
Email: zhoumi@ilo.org

Gita Lingga
ILO’s Communication Officer
Tel.: +6221 3913112 ext. 115
Email: gita@ilo.org