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Programs in Seed Grants

Decent fisheries work in a changing climate

Principal Investigators: Jim Leape, JD, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions; Michelle Tigchelaar, PhD, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions; Elizabeth Selig, PhD, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions; Shinnosuke Nakayama, PhD, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions

Research Team: Jessica Sparks, PhD, Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions; Doreen Boyd, PhD, University of Nottingham; Bethany Jackson, PhD, University of Nottingham; Edgar Rodríguez-Huerta, PhD, University of Nottingham; William Cheung, PhD, University of British Columbia; June Spector, MD, MPH, University of Washington

Funders: Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health

Climate change threatens the health and well-being of fishery workers. This project will lay a framework for understanding how to better support decent work in fisheries and the health of this vital workforce on a warming planet.

Fishery work is known to be one of the most dangerous occupations – with high rates of injuries and fatalities – and is increasingly vulnerable to exploitative labor practices. Media reports and worker accounts suggest that climate change – through rising heat extremes, more frequent storms, and shifting fish stocks – is exacerbating these threats to the health, safety, and dignity of fishery workers. So far however, climate change analyses and policies for fisheries have not accounted for the workers in these systems, while labor policies are far from being adaptive, preventative, responsive and resilient in a changing climate. This research will bridge the climate and labor domains to simultaneously address environmental and social risk factors. Combining geospatial analyses of climate and fishery data with survey data on working conditions and arrangements will lead to unique insights into decent and dignified work in a changing climate.

“We hope that this seed grant will help us develop a larger research program in which we will work with community partners – such as the International Trade Workers Federation and Stella Maris – to support them in their efforts to advance worker-centric climate policies and climate-responsive labor policies,” said Co-PI Michelle Tigchelaar, PhD, Research Scientist at the Center for Ocean Solutions.