Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) — Seafish

Human Rights at Sea (HRAS)

Human Rights at Sea (HRAS)
Raising awareness, implementation and accountability for human rights provisions throughout the maritime environment.

An independent maritime human rights charity, to raise awareness, implementation and accountability for human rights provisions throughout the maritime environment.

HRAS will be complementary to existing national and international human rights work relating to the maritime environment, including fully supporting established seafarers organisations and their initiatives. The work aims to mirror the General Principles of the 2011 United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, otherwise known as the ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework.

HRAS has produced a number of guidelines and reports (see all the links below):

HRAS implementing guidelines for the maritime sector for the UN Guiding Principles.

The Human Rights at Sea publication provides an extended introduction and commentary of the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the “UNGPs”). 

October 2017. HRAS independent research project report on non-EEA nationals working in the Northern Irish fishing industry, as well as a fishing industry response into the non-EEA crew issue in Northern Ireland.

This research commissioned by the Anglo North Irish Fisheries Producer Organisation (ANIFPO) found that there was little to no evidence of slavery and trafficking in the Northern Ireland fishing industry at first instance.

January 2018 HRAS announced a new and unique partnership with the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. 

This covered the launch of a new global platform for recording cases of maritime human rights abuses, highlighting pertinent international cases from the shipping and fisheries industries, and publishing cases relevant to identifying best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices for companies operating in the maritime sector.

July 2018. HRAS report Flag States and Human Rights.

This looked at the widespread practice of trading at sea, known as transhipment concluded it, lacks adequate regulation and transparency, making it all too easy to hide human trafficking, drug smuggling and illegal fishing activities. This is the finding of the first ever analysis of fishing vessel interactions on a global scale, which is published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science. It was undertaken by researchers from Google, SkyTruth and Global Fishing Watch.

August 2018. HRAS and Stop Illegal Fishing announce collaboration to raise awareness of human rights protections on fishing vessels.

HRAS and the Botswana-based African NGO Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF) have entered into  a mutually supporting collaborative partnership to continue to maintain and raise the global narrative on illegal fishing activities which include promoting human rights protections against abuses of crew.

August 2018. HRAS published a new case study exploring the issue of Philippine manning agencies supplying Non-EEA crew to the UK fisheries industry.

This raises issues in terms of transparency of practice, due diligence to assure welfare safeguards for crew, and the necessary safeguards required to ensure decent work conditions.

April 2019. UK Share Fishermen Briefing Note: A Practical Guide & Review of Status.

HRAS, alongside the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) and The Fishermen’s Mission, has published a new briefing note covering the topic of UK Share Fishermen in respect of the ILO 188 Work in Fishing Convention 2007 to provide clarity and a new baseline reference publication in support of new UK legislation reflecting the application of ILO 188.

April 2019. First Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea published by HRAS.

The principal aim of the Declaration is to raise global awareness of the abuse of human rights at sea and to mobilise a concerted international effort to put an end to it.

May 2019. Anglo-North Irish Fisheries Human Rights Audits & Response published.

HRAS published the Anglo-North Irish Fish Producers Organisation (ANIFPO) voluntary annual human rights and business audits for 2018 and 2019.

Oct 2019. Taiwan Fisheries Human Rights Baseline Study Report.

A baseline human rights study looks at provisions, policy and protections for national and migrant fishers working in the Taiwanese coastal and distant water fleets warns of human rights abuses in Taiwanese fishing fleet.

Nov 2019. UK Fisheries Sector Human Rights and Social Welfare Baseline Project gets underway. 

The first stage of the inaugural UK Fisheries Sector Human Rights and Social Welfare Baseline Project started as part of new joint work between Human Rights at Sea and The Fishermen’s Mission to look at the need for such an assessment in terms of the level of human rights and social welfare provisions in the sector.

Jan 2020. Briefing note. Ending Exploitative Recruitment Fees for Seafarers and Fishers in the Maritime Sector

From evidence gathered by HRAS, workers and especially migrant workers are almost always made to pay for the opportunity of work either directly or indirectly by unscrupulous third-party facilitators operating under the banner of charging ‘standard service costs’ which in reality are often unreasonable at least, and often unlawful at best.

March 2020. South Western Fish Producer Organisation releases 2019 Business and Human Rights Audit.

The inaugural South Western Fish Producer Organisation (SWFPO) Ltd Business and Human Rights Audit has been released by HRAS.

March 2020. New Zealand: Under-Funding of Seafarers’ Welfare Services and Poor MLC Compliance.

This details gross underfunding and poor support for seafarers shore-based welfare facilities in New Zealand and reported failures on behalf of the New Zealand Government.

Seafarers Welfare Board for New Zealand fully concurs with HRAS Report. April 2020.  

The report’s recommendations, which the SWB fully concur with, offer a clear way forward to ensuring that when seafarers arrive in New Zealand ports, they will continue to receive the standard of care and welcome they so richly deserve.

July 2020. Fisheries Observer Deaths at Sea, Human Rights and the Role and Responsibilities of Fisheries Organisations.

This is an extensive human rights focused report looking into the ongoing issue of Fisheries Observer protections and deaths at sea in the complex and highly-competitive commercial fishing industry supply chains that they work in.

November 2020. Model proposal for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)

This is the fourth in a series of papers published by Human Rights at Sea to advocate for greater public international awareness on fisheries observer safety, security and well-being in the WCPFC region.

December 2020. New Collaboration between Global Fishing Watch and Human Rights at Sea for aligning human rights and technology. 

This new collaboration aims to ensure that policy and satellite technology solutions are aligned and information is available to all stakeholders.

Significance for seafood businesses: 

Seafood-specific support for fishers. Useful for awareness as an organisation working to support the industry, and improve governance, safety and welfare within the global seafood industry.

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