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Project Information Form
PROJECT INFORMATION
Project Title
Brief
Socio-legal research into migrant labour in the UK’s fishing fleet
There have been an increasing number of high profile cases in recent years regarding foreign crews working on fishing
boats highlighting significant issues around working conditions and questionable employment practices. This has led to
allegations of modern-day slavery (see for instance Arbuthnott (2014) and Murray (2014)). The reputational damage
to the fishing industry is potentially enormous, and is fundamentally opposite to the sustainable modern industry
Seafish promotes. The nature and extent of this employment practice needs to be explored to see what measures can
be taken to address this issue and highlight any illegal/criminal activity that is tarnishing the industry.
Arburthnott, G. (19th January 2014) ‘Slaves in Peril on the Sea’ The Sunday Times
Murray, P. (24th January 2014) ‘Boat slave shame of fishing industry’ The Daily Express
This project will primarily consist of a critical desk-based review of the legal regime which permits foreign workers to
work on UK vessels. The following objectives will be explored:
(1) An analysis of the legal regime which permits foreign workers to work on UK vessels, including the
exploration of legal loop-holes that undermine the rights (e.g. fair pay, abuse) of foreign workers.
(2) An investigation of secondary sources, such as the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), court and
media records to examine the scale of human rights abuses, and also identify case-studies to illustrate keypoints raised in (1).
(3) Recommendations (if any) for improved regulation.
(4) Opportunities and risks for the Seafish Responsible Fishing Scheme in raising standards.
How will the student
address/contribute
to addressing the
problem?
Following the desk-based research, if time-permits, key-informant interviews with officials from SOCA, gang masters
licensing authority, and ports will be carried out, to increase the credibility of the review, and illustrate key findings.
Feasibility and
possible problems
There would need to be a full ethical and risk assessment carried out to ensure the safety of any human participants in
interviews and the safety of the researcher.
What training or
other career benefits
will the student get?
For a student this is an incredibly timely subject to research. They would gain experience and contacts within the
industry and would be able to work on a real issue that mattered. Involvement in a project like this could enhance
their career prospects if interested in working on social responsibility.
Supporting Staff Member
Dr Alex Caveen
Email
[email protected]
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