Tuvalu leads the way in ensuring safe and fair fishing: A GLOBAL CALL TO ACTION

In a celebration of commitment to the rights and welfare of fishing crews, Tuvalu stole the spotlight at the WCPFC 20 conference in Rarotonga. Acknowledging the commendable efforts of the Commission, Tuvalu stands shoulder to shoulder with fellow members, voicing support and sharing strides taken to safeguard the rights of those toiling in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Tuvalu proudly announced its proactive measures during the conference, showcasing a groundbreaking initiative implemented in 2020. With the steadfast support of the FFA, Tuvalu adopted a national regulation setting minimum labor and human rights standards for fishing vessels operating in its waters. This milestone makes Tuvalu one of the pioneering Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the WCPO region under the FFA.

The global pandemic posed challenges, but Tuvalu’s government proved resilient. Plans were laid out for regular meetings with stakeholders to implement and enforce the law, slated to begin on January 1, 2024.

Collaboration has been key for Tuvalu. Consultations with the FFA, the International Labour Organization (ILO), other UN agencies, the Commission, and fishing partner companies have been ongoing. Recently, funds from the government of New Zealand were utilized for comprehensive training programs for Tuvalu crews in Funafuti.

Tuvalu’s gratitude extends beyond its borders. There is acknowledgment of potential assistance from funds such as the Canada Indo-Pacific Programme to further support these vital regulations. Tuvalu also tips its hat to the faculty staff at ANCORS, University of Wollongong, for their indirect yet impactful work, providing valuable guidance and recommendations.

As a small country with a population just over 11,000, Tuvalu understands the intrinsic value of its people, holding them close to its heart. Standing before the commission, Tuvalu issues a call to all Coastal States to unite in mutual support, ensuring that work in the fishing industry is safe, dignified, and fulfilling for every fisher on every vessel.

Tuvalu’s story is one of resilience, collaboration, and a passionate commitment to a brighter and safer future for all who contribute to the lifeblood of the oceans.