Participants of the Office of the Attorney General, Marine Police, Tuvalu Maritime Training Institution TMTI, the Ministry of Labour, Fishing Vessel Agents, Crewing Agents and the Tuvalu Seafarers’ Union (TOSU) with TFD staff held a workshop on safe fishing and crew employment last week on Wednesday.
The workshop focused on the employment of crew on fishing vessels. This is a significant opportunity for Tuvaluans, as jobs in merchant shipping have been slumping recently. However, fishing vessels can be a dangerous and low-paid working environment and the importance of this workshop is to ensure that any jobs are worthwhile and safe.
Staff from the Fish Safety Foundation of the New Zealand (an NGO) were expected to come to Tuvalu and present the workshop materials on safe legal fishing. Because of COVID-19, it was not possible and the Department of Fisheries was asked to organize the workshop.
The workshop was moderated by TFD staff Mike Batty, Fisheries Adviser and Isala Tito Isala, Fisheries Legal Adviser. They combined Fish Safety Foundation materials with an update on national crewing policies and regulations.
The government is committed to promoting work opportunities on fishing vessels. New provisions for Tuvalu-flagged purse seine vessels will create 30 jobs for Tuvaluan crew in 2021. There are new incentives for foreign flag purse seiners to hire Tuvaluans; and there are also pilot schemes in Australia and New Zealand. The new policy and regulation lay down the conditions for employment to ensure that crew are paid a reasonable wage and are properly cared for by the employer.
Mike Batty, Fisheries Adviser, said, “The workshop went well with good discussion on the merits of Tuvalu joining a number of international agreements on standards for fishing crew. There was a lot of interest in the opportunities for employment, but it is good that we approach these from a starting point of ensuring safe and worthwhile jobs”.
The Tuvalu Fisheries Department would like to thank the Fish Safety Foundation for meeting the costs of lunch and refreshments for the workshop, as well as providing very useful information and materials for the presentations.