New guide launched to help improve welfare standards on fishing vessels

Two maritime charities have joined forces to help improve welfare standards on fishing vessels with the launch of a new guide entitled ‘Work in Fishing Convention (C188): Everything you need to know but were frightened to ask’, following some reports of labour exploitation that have plunged the sector into disrepute.

The Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) and The Fishermen’s Mission have joined forces to produce this informative guide that provides key elements of the UK legislation on the International Convention on Work in Fishing (C188).

The report comes in the wake of reports that show migrant fishers suffering physical violence, working 20-hour shifts for less than £3.50 an hour and being recruited into the UK fishing industry on transit visas.

This new guide aims to inform and assist all those with an interest in commercial fishing, from vessel owners and skippers, to crew from all nations, and those in the maritime charitable sector, to understand the legal welfare standards applicable to those working on fishing vessels.

Extending to 40 pages, there are 15 different chapters that provide fishermen with much-needed support and advice on health and safety, contracts, money management, insurance, recruitment, medical advice and more.

Stuart Rivers, Chief Executive of the MNWB which is the umbrella charity for the Merchant Navy and UK fishing fleet, which provides welfare support to seafarers, fishermen and their dependents, said:
“There’s no escaping the industry must clean up its act, and quickly. The publication of this guide is undoubtedly a step in the right direction in clarifying the rules and requirements of fishermen, to ensure safety and welfare of crews is of the highest standard.”

Marc Evans, Chief Executive of Fishermen’s Mission, who specialise in supporting fishermen with financial and welfare aid, added that “there is still much more we can do to drive out unacceptable shortcomings in welfare provision in our fishing vessels; this convention is explicit, and we all have a duty of care to each and every fisherman to bring about immediate change and provide working conditions that are safe and allow our people to feel safe in their place of work.”

The guide was produced in consultation with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), Nautilus International and the Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG).

Download the guide: Working in Fishing Convention MNWB

Latest Tweets from the IIMS