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World Seafarers' Day
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World Seafarers' Day

25/06/2019

25 June is World Seafarers' Day, this year's motto being "Women's Empowerment in the Maritime Community". It is a unique opportunity to highlight opportunities for women in the wide variety of maritime careers and professions, targeted especially at seafarers.

Most of society is aware of the importance of voluntary technical standards in contributing to industrial affairs and business management. However, standards drawn up by the Spanish Standardisation Association (UNE) also play an important role in bringing social aspects into the limelight.

The craftsmanship involved in making and maintaining traditional fishing gear and preserving the art of fishing is crucial for fishing activities. This is a centuries-long activity performed by both men and women, but there are undoubtedly a lot more women than men working in this field throughout Spain. For this reason, the UNE 195005 Standard, Traditional Confection and Maintenance of Fishing Gear and Preservation of the Art of Fishing, talks about "fishing net craftswomen", not "craftsmen", and "women partners", without meaning it to be in the least bit discriminatory.

This trade, so visible to anybody in the harbours along our coastline and sometimes even a tourist attraction, is not always properly acknowledged and paid for. This standard has been drafted to help showcase the level and quality of the craftsmanship put into making and repairing nets by women in Spain, and to ensure that the activity is undertaken in a conspicuous, transparent way.

In fact, standards help achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs). For example, the UNE 195005 Standard helps achieve SDG 5 on Gender Equality.

The fishing industry's current trend is to increase health and safety standards for workers. To this end, UNE 195006, Responsible Tuna Fishing; Freezer Purse Seiners, is a Standard stipulating that crews on tuna vessels belonging to the Spanish fleet must comply with different labour regulations, such as minimum wages, time off, medical care, health and safety at work, social security and acknowledgement of the right to collective bargaining.