Death at Sea Justice Campaign Launches

July 02, 2024 by Human Rights at Sea International


Human Rights at Sea International is proud to announce the launch of the Death at Sea Justice Campaign.

This ongoing campaign, sponsored by Blue Marine Foundation and the Sustainable Fisheries and Communities Trust, will push for increased awareness on the need to safeguard protections for fisheries observers, including their safety, security, and wellbeing at sea. Alongside the film’s release, it will also advocate for justice for Eritara Aati Kaierua’s family, and global policy reform at domestic and international levels.

Death at Sea: The Film

The award-winning film follows the Human Rights at Sea investigation into the untimely death in March 2020 of Eritara Aati Kaierua, a Kiribati fisheries observer, through the eyes of the family he left behind. Alongside his family’s testimony, other Pacific fisheries observers recount the abuses they have witnessed and experienced at sea. Death at Sea premiered at the Everyman Borough Yards Cinema in London on 30 January 2024, and has been screened at universities, international fisheries working groups, and other locations worldwide.

The film has also been covered in various news outlets, including ABC Radio Australia’s podcast, Pacific Beat, and the Fisker Forum. Further media and screenings will be announced as the campaign progresses. The film has also won a national Royal Television Society award in the Postgraduate Factual – Short Form category.

Campaign Priorities

Spearheaded by the film’s director, Sara Pipernos, the campaign will see to the development of an interactive multi-lingual website that includes policy goals, an in-depth dive into Human Rights at Sea’s previous investigation of Eritara’s death, timelines for future engagement with fisheries governance bodies, and exclusive behind-the-scenes clips from the film.

The campaign aims to achieve systemic justice by supporting Kiribati authorities to deliver worker compensation to Eritara’s family and raise awareness globally of the need to increase protections for fisheries observers through screenings at festivals, fisheries governance meetings, seafood businesses and stakeholder events.

The campaign will also engage with UN bodies, such as the International Labor Organization and the International Maritime Organization, and regional fisheries management organizations to advocate for the ratification of global agreements and adoption of management measures that serve to protect both observers and crew.

Sara Pipernos commented: “When ‘Death at Sea’ first premiered back in January, it felt like only the beginning of our advocacy efforts as opposed to the culmination of a big project – and I’m so glad to be proven right. I’m grateful that we can now use this film to fight for justice for Eritara’s family and fisheries observers across the globe.”


A Global Precedent

David Hammond, Executive Director Human Rights at Sea International, said: “We intimately understand the importance of achieving a global precedent of justice being realized for fisheries observers. Through this justice campaign and the wider release of the film, we aim to establish a benchmark for international reference of accepted practices and policies that serve to better protect and compensate fisheries observers and their families.”

Jess Rattle, Head of Investigations at Blue Marine Foundation, said: “Despite the crucial role that fisheries observers play in the management of valuable marine resources, they are seldom given the protection and support that they deserve. Fisheries cannot be regarded as responsible or sustainable when examples of threats, intimidation and serious human rights abuses continue. We’re thrilled to see the Death at Sea film receive the recognition that it deserves and hope that it will lead to increased transparency and improved conditions for fisheries observers and their families.”

John Burton, Chair of Sustainable Fisheries and Communities Trust (SFACT) said, “At SFACT, we are committed to continuing to support the justice campaign for Eritara’s family thereby striving for better protections all fisheries observers and providing access for welfare security for observer’s families who tragically suffer loss. We are delighted to see the already impressive early impact of the Death at Sea film and celebrate the recent Royal Television Society student award.”

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