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TUC, ILO launches workers’ policy for decent work in the fishing sector

The Trade Union Congress has launched the workers’ policy to eliminate forced labour and promote decent work in the fishing sector.

It also prioritises the well-being of fishers by investing in education and training, improving living conditions in fishing communities, and extending social protections.

Launching the policy in Accra, Mr Ishmael Nii Adjei Brown, Director, Research, Statistics and Information Management, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, said the policy was not merely about protecting the rights of workers, it was about safeguarding the long-term sustainability and prosperity of the fisheries industry.

‘By fostering a culture of responsible stewardship and prioritizing worker well-being, we can pave the way for a fishing sector that is not only economically prosperous, but, also socially responsible and environmentally sustainable.’

He said the fishing sector stood as a cornerstone of Ghana’s economy, sustaining the livelihoods of over 2.5 million individuals, directly and

Mr Brown indicated that ‘contributing approximately 4.5 per cent to our GDP and generating over US$ 1 billion in revenue annually, it is undeniably a vital pillar of our nation’s economic landscape.’

‘From the vibrant fish markets teeming with activity to the vast expanses of our oceanic waters, the fishing sector embodies the essence of resilience and prosperity in our nation,’ he added.

According to him, rampant overfishing, and the insidious presence of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing by both artisanal and industrial fishing fleets had cast a dark shadow over the future of the marine ecosystems, hence the need for the policy.

‘These unsustainable practices not only deplete fish stocks but also undermine the very foundation upon which our fishing sector thrives,’ he added.

Mr Brown noted that the exploitation of vulnerable workers did not only violate their basic human rights but also stained the reputation of the nation on the global village. It was imperative to confront
these injustices head-on and strive to create an environment where every worker was treated with dignity, respect, and fairness.

He appealed to government agencies, civil society organisations, trade unions, employers, and workers to come together in solidarity and mutual respect to ensure the effective implementation of this policy to secure a brighter and more equitable future for all workers in the fishing sector.

Dr Yaw Baah, Secretary General, TUC, said the policy provided the blueprint to guide trade union efforts to enhance work deficit in fishing, especially forced labour and modern slavery.

He urged trade unions in Ghana to take action to promote and protect the rights and interest of fishers in Ghana.

Mr Emmanuel Kwame Mensah, ILO National Programme Coordinator for the 8.7 Accelerator Lab Programme, said the policy would aid effective implementation of the provisions outlined in the Work in Fishing Conven­tion (C188), currently being rati­fied by Ghana and ensure that fishers had decent conditio
ns of work.

The stakeholders pledged their support and commitment for the policy, saying it would promote decent work and prevent labor forced and trafficking in the fishing sector.

Source: Ghana News Agency