SAMUDRA Report

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Issue No:65
  • :ISSN 0973–1121
  • :July
  • :2013
  • :English

The blue sea had over it the mystery of the darkness of the

night; the high noon sun had lost its fiery vigour and shone

with the pale yellow splendour of a full moon. All around me,

before and on either hand, was a waste of waters; the very air

and earth seemed filmed with moving water, and the sound

of falling waters was in my ears.

— from The Mystery of the Sea by Bram Stoker

COMMENT

Forced Labour

New Zealand's experience shows that labour conditions on board foreign charter vessels are far from perfect


Even as New Zealand grabbed international media headlines for good fisheries management practices, it was also exposed for employing forced labour on board foreign-flagged fishing vessels in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Until very recently, foreign charter vessels (FCVs)—all above 30 m registered length—accounted for over half the marine fish catch from the New Zealand EEZ and nearly 50 per cent of the value of total seafood exports. These included southern blue whiting and hoki that are certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The FCVs were employed to fish privately owned quota under contract to a domestic permit holder within the EEZ.

The forced labour conditions included poor living and working conditions, physical and sexual abuse by officers, non-payment of wages and manipulation of time sheets, especially of Indonesian crew members on board Korean-flagged FCVs (see page 8).

How could such a laudable sustainable fishing regime—“rated as first equal out of all marine regions around the world”, according to the 2012 Report of the Ministerial Inquiry into the use and operation of Foreign Charter...

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