7. Labours of Offshore Fishing

Chairs: Sallie Yea (La Trobe University, Australia), Christina Stringer (University of Auckland, New Zealand) and Rebecca Strating (La Trobe University, Australia)

Type: in person

Offshore, or distant waters, commercial fishing has been extensively scrutinised for its association with illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. Forced labour and human trafficking of fishing crew on within this industry, has also been subject to some degree of critical attention recently. The past ten years, for example, have seen some documentation of human and labour rights abuses on distant waters fishing vessels and some scrutiny of the role of manning agencies and recruiters in perpetuating unfree labour in the sector. Particular attention has been paid to the Thai, Taiwanese, Korean and Chinese fishing fleets, although much of this work has appears in grey literature, including reports from non-government organisations and media exposes. The aim of this session is to build on this extant documentation by bringing the key issues of forced labour in ocean spaces into conversation with critical work in political and social geography on spaces of abandonment, bio/necropolitics, and critical border studies. This body of scholarship led to highly provocative advances in understanding the interstices between precarity and work in land-based sectors, such as agriculture and horticulture, particularly for migrant labourers. Possible paper topics for this session could include:
• Jurisdictional gaps in the detection of forced labour at sea and protection of victims
• The links between forced labour and IUU fishing practices
• The impact of industrial fishing practices on livelihood vulnerabilities of coastal fishing communities
• The role of technology and tracing and identifying vessels engaged in forced labour at sea
• Ports as ‘grey spaces’ of forced labour in fishing
• Transfer of crew (transhipment) at sea
• Fishing/ working routines and life at sea as a precarious fisher.

Keywords: labour, fishing, distant waters, critical border studies, migrant workers