Forging regional cooperation to address fishery labor issues
The rapid development of the world's fisheries sector together with increasing demand for fish and fishery products for human consumption, result in a growing global demand of labor in fishing and aquaculture related activities. Meanwhile, illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities continue to proliferate to fill the ever-enlarging gap in the supply of fish and fishery products. However, illegal fishing activities leads to increasing incidence of labor abuses, forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking. The ASEAN Member States, as major producers of fish and fishery products, are making considerable efforts to develop and implement management measures that aim to ensure the sustainability of fish stocks, combat IUU fishing and promote fair labor standards throughout the Southeast Asian region. Recognizing that labor concerns continue to loom in the region's fisheries sector necessitating the need to address such concerns for sustainable development, labor issues in the fisheries sector including the situation of migrant workers, working conditions and safety at sea had been given priority in the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Resolution and Plan of Action on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security for the ASEAN Region Towards 2020 adopted in 2011.