Push for inclusion of locals in longline fishing vessels

February 23, 2024 12:37 pm

Human Dignity Group Executive Officer Dr. Patricia Kailola believes that Pacific Islanders have been disadvantaged in their right to work on longline fishing vessels.

Speaking at the Vice Chancellor Leadership Seminar at the Fiji National University Nasinu Campus, Dr. Kailola said that although conditions on these vessels are deplorable, something can be done to make them more suitable for locals.

She claims that Asians have been widely employed in this sector for years with very little emphasis on involving people from the region.

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Dr. Kailola raised concern about the excessive immigrants working on longline fishing vessels in our waters.

“The labour on our fleets is mainly Asian labour because the Chinese and other countries actually bring in Asian workers to take priority over Pacific Islanders to bring in the fish.”

Meanwhile, Solomon Islands National University Vice-Chancellor Professor Transform Aqorau says if the sector is to be domesticated, it will need a whole Pacific approach to ensure that our people work in a good environment.

“If we were to develop a wholly domesticated longline industry across the region, then we would be able to enforce and require that the conditions under which they operate are more comfortable and meet international ILO standards, which is what the market now requires.”

Professor Aqorau says there have been some developments happening in the sector.