fishing boat A call has been made for the ratification and implementation of the ILO C188. Photo: Europêche

A call has been made for the ratification and implementation of the ILO Work in Fishing Convention (C188) and its EU equivalent, EU Directive 2017/159 by addressing the barriers and the benefits of implementing the social standards established in the C188 for the protection of workers.

This joint initiative by the fishing sector and the international community took place at a webinar on the ILO C188 hosted by the European Social Partners in the Sea Fisheries Sector (ETF and Europêche). The event was organised in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the European Commission and representatives of key fishing nations including France, the Netherlands, Denmark and the UK.

Cor Blonk, chair of the European Sea Fisheries Social Dialogue Committee, said: “At present, only 18 countries worldwide have ratified the ILO C188, 7 of which are EU Member States. If we compare this with the equivalent for merchant shipping, we see that 97 countries have ratified the Maritime Labour Convention, including 25 out of the 27 EU Member States.”

The European social partners in the sea fisheries sector concluded back in 2012 an agreement on the implementation of the ILO C188, which triggered its transposition into EU law through an EU Directive1 . The EU Law provides worldwide access to decent working and living conditions for fishermen aboard EU vessels. However, the sector recalls that in order to create an international level playing field, it is equally important to ratify the C188, for which the number of signing countries remain insufficient, also at European level.

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