Human Rights at Sea

Stop Illegal Fishing welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with international advocacy organisation Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) to raise awareness, implementation and accountability of human rights provisions in the fisheries sector.  

The abuse of workers on board fishing vessels has been a consistent feature of the investigations undertaken by SIF, with crews subject to violence, intimidation, poor living and working conditions as well as being denied food and water. Building awareness of these issues amongst fisheries and port officials who are on the frontline in identifying human rights abuses on fishing vessels and the decision makers that can drive change, forms an important and growing element of SIF’s work.

“The identification of trafficked or abused fishers is a challenge as the vessels they work on actively avoid oversight from the authorities whenever possible, but we know that the link between human trafficking and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is strong. We have seen from our investigations that when a vessel is fishing illegally many other laws and regulations are also being broken.” Stated Per Erik Bergh, Coordinator of Stop Illegal Fishing.

David Hammond, Founder of Human Rights at Sea, said “From the position of being a trustee and on behalf of my fellow trustees, we are delighted to be able to increase the charity’s reach and partnership engagement in the global fisheries sector specifically looking at further protecting human rights in the maritime environment. This new and valued collaboration will ensure that our respective work for the betterment of fisher’s welfare, continues to be co-ordinated, promoted and the narrative developed.”

Elsa Patria, Chair of SIF, welcomed the collaboration with Human Rights at Sea, “SIF is committed to raising awareness of the situation of the crew on these vessels and is working to build identification tools and systems that will help to improve the conditions for those working on fishing vessels. We hope that this partnership will build on our work and create real change in the industry.”

We need a joined-up approach to tackling human rights abuse and other fisheries and fisheries related crimes, linking the authorities responsible for pre-fishing processes, monitoring fishing operations with those responsible for overseeing vessel safety and labour standards and those monitoring the processing and marketing operations. Only by working together can we improve compliance across the fisheries value chain.

Recent Posts

Committee on Fisheries Thirty-fourth Session

1-5 February 2021 Rome, Italy For more information go to:


SADC Secretariat, Member States and partners, SIF and WWF take stock on progress in implementation of SDG 14

Sustainable development goal 14 (SDG 14) concerning life below water is a priority...


Vessel Inspection: Fisheries Enforcement Phrase Book

Communication between fisheries inspectors and the master and crew of fishing vessels during...


SIF News Categories

What impact are we having?

The Issues

One in four fish in Africa is caught illegally, this threatens the sustainability of fish stocks, damages the ecosystem and deprives governments of income and people of livelihoods.

Find Out More...

Our Approach

Creating change by informing policy and practice, our hands on experience and investigative work means we are often the first to spot new trends and find ways to challenge these.


Our Initiatives

Illegal fishing is a complex issue that requires multifaceted responses. Stop Illegal Fishing are working with a range of organisations to bring about change.

Find Out More...