Urgent reform of fishing industry need

Cardinal Peter Turkson, is calling for significant improvements in working conditions for those work in the fishing industry.

Turkson, who heads the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, says working in the fishing industry is one of the most perilous jobs in the world.

And, each year 32,000 people lose their lives working in the fishing industry, Turkson said in a message for World Fisheries Day.

Turkson’s message calls on Governments and International Organizations to implement the law and ensure fishermen and their rights are protected.

The Catholic Church in New Zealand outreaches to fishers and their families through the Apostleship of the Sea.

It is no stranger to cases of abuse and precarious working conditions, false contracts and even slavery that takes place in fishing.

Fr Jeff Drane, the National Director of the Apostleship of the Sea in New Zealand supports Turkson’s call.

Drane confirmed the dangerous nature of the work and that fishers’ arriving in New Zealand ports are exploited.

“The New Zealand Government has passed legislation (the Fisheries Act – Foreign Vessels and other Matters – amendments May 2016) to control foreign vessels when in our territorial waters but our ocean is so huge it’s hard to police,” he said.

Drane says that it is only when the fishing vessels are inshore that it is possible to notice a dangerous work environment and exploitation.

However, he says there is no absolutely effective way of tracking abuse or exploitation either close or far from shore.

Seafarers transport more than 95% of the food and goods the world uses every day, and yet these 1.3 million hardworking men and women are often forgotten.

Away from family and friends for many months at a time, working long hours and navigating some of the world’s most dangerous stretches of ocean, seafaring can be a tough, lonely and hazardous career.

The Apostleship of the Sea, internationally also known as Stella Maris, promotes the spiritual and social welfare of seafarers irrespective of nationality or belief.


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News category: New Zealand.

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