The International Labour Organisation's Work in Fishing Convention 2007 (known as ILO 188) came in to force internationally on 16 November 2017 and will substantially come in to force in the UK on 31 December 2018 via a series of Regulations made under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 which can be found on the MCA's pages on the gov.ukwebsite here.

ILO 188 introduces international minimum standards regulating living and working conditions on board fishing vessels. It applies to all fishermen and all commercial fishing vessels, although there are some areas of the Convention where different requirements apply to fishing vessels over 24m or ones that undertake voyages lasting three days or more; and to fishermen who work on larger vessels.

Our shipping and marine team has published a series of articles in Fishing News unpacking the detail of the Regulations for the industry. The articles are all available at the links below.

  • In the first article Duncan MacLean set the scene on the requirements and offences contained in the new Regulations, noting there were major changes afoot in several important areas which affect the health, safety and wellbeing of fishermen.
  • Andrew Forsyth's article followed with a more in-depth look at the provisions on health & safety, including the new offence of failing "to comply with the lawful orders of the skipper regarding health and safety".
  • Duncan MacLean's next article explained the requirements for written, understood and signed Fishermen's Work Agreements.
  • Sarah Polson's article looked at the impact on crew accommodation, food and water provision, noting it had benefits not only for fishermen but also for the quality and marketability of their catch.
  • Malcolm Mackay rounded off the series with an article on the detail and timeline for the introduction of valid medical certification of, healthcare for, and repatriation of fisherman, and insurance requirements for vessel owners.

If you would like further information on any of the topics covered, or legal advice or training on the Regulations, contact Duncan MacLean or Malcolm Mackay.


Sarah Polson

Senior Associate