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Pay Gaps Between Domestic and International Fishers: an Economic or Ethical Issue?

Jones, Estelle; Botterill, Katherine; Chikwama, Cornilius; Caveen, Alex; Gray, Tim


Estelle Jones

Katherine Botterill

Cornilius Chikwama

Tim Gray


Through the global market for maritime labour, multi-national crews now work on fishing vessels which were once serviced by domestic crews only. The remuneration and working conditions for non-domestic crews are causing concern, with allegations of unequal and poor pay levelled at the industry. This paper presents evidence from Scotland, a nation where a significant proportion of crews on fishing vessels originate from outside of the UK, a large number of whom come from outside the European Economic Area. Their level of remuneration is significantly lower than their Scottish counterparts, even when employed on the same boats to carry out the same work. The question arises whether the remuneration and inferred pay differences are justifiable economic consequences of local and global labour markets, or whether they constitute a failure of maritime governing institutions to prevent unjust pay discrimination. After exploring the economic and ethical arguments for keeping or removing remuneration differentials, the paper concludes that ‘equal share’ is the most just distributional criterion for international fishers’ remuneration. Although we recognise that other distributive justice principles will continue to be defended on economic grounds, the paper argues that policy makers need to find ways of redressing the power imbalances between employers and employees that contribute to unequal pay.


Jones, E., Botterill, K., Chikwama, C., Caveen, A., & Gray, T. (2020). Pay Gaps Between Domestic and International Fishers: an Economic or Ethical Issue?. Maritime Studies, 19(1), 15-27.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 16, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 5, 2019
Publication Date 2020-03
Deposit Date Apr 12, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 13, 2022
Journal Maritime Studies
Electronic ISSN 2212-9790
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 1
Pages 15-27
Keywords Pay; Nationality; Scotland; Marine fishing; Justice; Equal share
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Copyright Statement
© The Author(s) 2019.<br /> Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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