Seminar for Access to Decent and Secure Jobs in Fisheries in West Africa

The issue of safety and social protection of seafarers does not seem to be a priority in many of the countries of the region, despite the role and socio-economic contribution of this category of workers.
Even if their conditions vary, according to whether they are workers employed in the national or foreign "industrial" fishing fleet or those working in the artisanal or traditional fishery, the fishermen of the Western African countries work under very difficult conditions and seem more vulnerable than their counterparts working in the fleet of developed countries
Similarly, it will be noted that while some countries in the region have made real progress in the social protection of their workers at sea, others are lagging behind.
Working at sea, aboard a (fishing) vessel, is not a job like any other. Work at sea is indeed a singular activity and "sea workers" or seafarers form an active population distinct from the rest of the workers. This originality comes from the fact that the work is not done on land, but rather on a moving space that is in itself a harsh and dangerous environment, where working conditions are tough and the level of risk for the health and safety of seafarers, is high.
The professionals of the sea are subject to many accidents at work, the rate of occurrence is among the highest. In addition to being exposed to the harsh weather and hazards of the sea, work-related fatigue, gear handling and harvesting pose a permanent threat to the safety of these workers.
In addition, the nature of occupational health risks for seafarers, although constantly evolving throughout history, seems to have certain specificity due to own occupational exposures. This recognizes the sector some pathologies that are specific to it, or in any case that have a higher frequency than in other branches of activity.
To this is added a phenomenon that the world seems to discover with bewilderment, a new form of modern slavery. This is especially - and it is intimately linked to all the problems of the fishing sector (IUU fishing, the sustainability of fish stocks, transnational crime, pollution and ecological concerns ...) - exploitation and abusive practices against fishermen, with many cases similar to trafficking in human beings.
Nearly 60 million people are employed in capture fisheries, 25% of them are working full time on board fishing vessels. The health and safety of this population is an important social protection issue.
To protect this category of workers and the contribution they make to the global economic system through the exploitation of marine resources and global trade, the international community has developed and adopted many instruments dedicated to seafarers, aspiring to ensure special protection for the exercise of their tasks, by providing for their guarantee, the minimum conditions required for adequate work on board, service, accommodation and food, protection, safety and health at work, as well as medical care and social security
The main international instruments for the protection of seafarers:
- C188 - Work in Fishing Convention, 2007
- Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006)
- Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention (Revised), 2003 (No. 185) as amended
- Seafarers' Hours of Work and the Manning of Ships Convention, 1996 (No. 180)
- Recruitment and Placement of Seafarers Convention, 1996 (No. 179)
- Labour Inspection (Seafarers) Convention, 1996 (No. 178)
- Repatriation of Seafarers Convention (Revised), 1987 (No. 166)
- Health Protection and Medical Care (Seafarers) Convention, 1987 (No. 164)
- Seafarers' Welfare Convention, 1987 (No. 163)
- Seafarers' Annual Leave with Pay Convention, 1976 (No. 146)
- Continuity of Employment (Seafarers) Convention, 1976 (No. 145)
Other instruments:
- The completion of the FAO / ILO / IMO security recommendations in 2010 and the FAO / ILO / IMO implementation guidelines in 2011;
- International Convention on Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping Personnel of Fishing Vessels, 1995 (STCW-F 1995) September 29, 2012;
- Adoption of the Cape Town Agreement on Fishing Vessel Safety in 2012 and subsequent regional seminars on its implementation and ratification;
- The adoption of instruments to support the implementation of the ILO Work in Fishing Convention, such as guidelines for port and flag inspectors;
- Safety study of international commercial fisheries management regimes (FAO).
It seems, however, that many States in the Region are lagging behind in terms of safety and social protection for this category of workers. In addition to the peculiarities of fishing work in these countries, where there is still a traditional artisanal fishery, these countries have only a limited commitment to international standards. They would be among the nations with the least ratified international labor conventions at sea, and even when this is done, very little progress has been made in the field.
What is it in the reality?
By organizing this meeting on the theme of '' For access to decent and secure jobs in the fisheries in West Africa'', ATLAFCO proposes through exchanges between the participants, to assess and to illustrate the work situation of fishermen in terms of working conditions, safety and social protection, with a view to identifying and proposing realistic options / recommendations for making improvements to the condition of this category socio-professional in the countries of the Region

       Documents to download
Report of the workshop
- The dangerousness of work at sea: analysis of accidents of fishermen, causes and consequences, A.LAAMRICH (ATLAFCO)
- The Fisherman, a particular worker: approach to occupational health and safety of seafarers» Dr. T. GHAILAN, Seafarer's Physician,
- Working conditions of the African woman in fishing activities, Mrs. Hayat ASSARA (ATLAFCO)
- Difficult conditions for fishermen: views of African and foreign media, A. NAOUSSI (MOSFA)
- Social protection, decent work and small-scale fisheries, Situation and prospects: M. SADIKI (ATLAFCO)
- European operators Initiative for decent working conditions on board fishing vessels and the promotion of the implementation of international standards for safety at sea, A. RODRIGUEZ (LDAC)
- The situation with regard to the relevant international conventions: accession and implementation, A. LAAMRICH (ATLAFCO)
- The legal framework relating to work in maritime fisheries in Morocco, A. EDDAMIRI (DMF)
What solutions for strengthening the security and protection of the fishing industry in West Africa? Moderators: Pr. M.LOUKILI and Dr. M.KEBE
The CTA agreement: The new hope for fishermen, A. LAAMRICH (ATLAFCO)