Decent Fisheries Work in a Changing Climate
A workshop on building a transdisciplinary research-to-action agenda in the climate–labor–fisheries–health nexus.
An estimated 40 million people work in the primary fisheries sector — work that is inherently precarious, dangerous, and typically low-wage, and increasingly vulnerable to exploitative labor practices. Climate change poses a growing threat to the health and dignity of these workers, as evidenced by the rising incidence of severe weather events like the recent heavy storms in the Bay of Bengal that capsized several boats or the heat extremes causing heat-related illnesses on fishing vessels in Taiwan. Climate change also impacts the location of fish stocks – thus affecting where fishery work is taking place and the different legal and regulatory frameworks that govern it. To date, there has been little attention — in research, policy and practice — to these various threats. Climate adaptation strategies for fisheries do not typically address the physical and mental health of workers in the sector, and policies designed to promote decent work in fisheries — such as the ILO Work in Fishing Convention (C 188) — are limited by a poor understanding of climate impacts, where new vulnerabilities will emerge, and how labor governance may need to respond to these new challenges.
The King Center on Global Development and the Center for Ocean Solutions hosted a two-day workshop, convening a team that can tackle this transdisciplinary global development challenge and generate actionable outcomes. Our goal was to develop a conceptual framework that identifies the key social-ecological interactions that drive fishery worker health risk under climate change. The workshop also aimed to operationalize this framework into an analytical model, create an overview of relevant quantitative and qualitative datasets, and produce initial data visualizations and illustrative examples that can support development of a larger knowledge-to-action research program.
The workshop’s organizers were Dr. Liz Selig, Deputy Director at the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions; Dr. Michelle Tigchelaar, Research Scientist at the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions; and Béline Falzon, Event Planner at the King Center on Global Development.
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