Post-Conference Workshop

Global Aquaculture Occupational Health and Safety: National and International Perspectives

This ½ day post-conference workshop will open with a panel presentation of findings from an FAO-funded scan of the global, regional and national terrain of aquaculture/fish farming occupational health and safety and related social and welfare impacts. Panel presentations will draw on regional and national profiles of aquaculture OHS completed in 2017 outlining documented physical, biological, ergonomic, chemical and psychosocial hazards, related injury and disease profiles, and examining how OHS issues are managed across a range of countries and companies engaged in the production of different species and products. These will be explored along the supply chain from diving and construction work through work on ponds, racks and cages to harvest, grading, primary processing and transport of products to market. Particular attention will be paid to OHS challenges associated with vulnerably situated groups including women and children and the precariously employed.

Results of this global and country and industry sector scan will be the focus of discussion for the first part of the workshop. In the second part, attention will shift to some of the major constraints and drivers for good aquaculture OHS. Discussion will be placed in the context of international codes produced by bodies such as the ILO and FAO, civil society codes like those from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, good labour and industry practice, industry/company guidance and training programmes, national and regional OHS regulations such as those existing in Europe, their uptake and effectiveness.  The role of safety policies that work or specific tripartite structures and codes for example in Norway and Scotland involving industry, trade unions and regulators on land and sea will also be explored. The workshop will look at what is known and gaps in current knowledge, evidence for things that work and for gaps and system failure. There will be an open discussion of improvements that can be made. Opportunities and cost and other constraints as these relate to assessment, communication, mitigation and, in particular, protection from and prevention of OSH hazards and risks in aquaculture will be explored. Critical underlying issues include: who bears the costs of poor OHS; the feasibility of adapting existing general OSH guidance documentation (e.g. as developed for other agricultural and food producing sectors) to aquaculture; particular opportunities and constrains faced by small-scale (rural) aquaculture farmers and related workers.

Presentation and discussion will be supported, it is hoped, by regional contributions from experts from Africa, the Asia-Pacific, Europe, North and South America, as well those responsible for developing profiles of particular countries and sectors.