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Vatican message for World Fisheries Day

Catholic World News - November 21, 2013

The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People has issued a message for World Fisheries Day, which is commemorated on November 21.

“In recent years, the fishing sector has grown according to the logic of profit: fill the nets as much as possible, in the shortest possible time often, with little consideration for fish stocks and for the time required for their reproduction,” the Pontifical Council stated. “The aim of making more money affects the whole fishing world from the industrial to the artisanal one, and leads fishers to work long hours, sometimes in bad weather, with an excess of fatigue that often is the cause of injuries and sometimes even of fatal accidents. Generally, but especially in cases of tragedies at work, social protection for the fisher and his family is minimal, if not non-existent.”

“Within the industrial fisheries, employment contracts are incomplete or illegal, the salary is inadequate, and minimum safety requirements on-board are lacking, meanwhile in the artisanal fisheries, coastal pollution and destruction along the coasts of the natural habitat of reproduction force the fishers to go further and further offshore with inadequate boats, endangering their lives,” the statement continued.

The Pontifical Council also expressed concern about the effects of this situation on family life.

“Family relationships of those engaged in fishing are put to the test by prolonged stays at sea and very short permanence in the family,” the statement added. “The fisher's wife courageously faces the difficulties caused by the absence of the husband, assuming the dual role of father and mother, with serious implications for the growth and education of their children.”

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