The Netherlands marks the ILO centenary with the ratification of the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188)

News | 19 December 2019
The Netherlands is celebrating the International Labour Organization (ILO) centenary with the ratification of the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188), joining the international efforts to put in place the legal framework to ensure decent work in the fishing sector. It is the sixteenth ILO member State and the sixth European Union Member State to ratify the Convention.

The Work in Fishing Convention is a comprehensive instrument which sets out binding requirements relating to work on board fishing vessels, including occupational safety and health, medical care at sea and ashore, rest periods, written work agreements, and social security protection.

When depositing the instruments of ratification, Mr Marcel Vernooij, Head of the Economic Affairs Unit of the Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, jointly with the representatives of the social partners, Mr Ment van der Zwan and Mr Gert Koster, affirmed that “the Netherlands joined today the Member States ratifying the Work in Fishing Convention. The Government and the social partners hope to contribute to better working and living conditions on board fishing vessels. As a nation with a long history in international and coastal fishing this Convention is very important to the Netherlands and its fisheries sector. The government of the Netherlands is proud to stand here together with the representatives of the social partners in the fisheries sector. The implementation of this Convention would not have been possible without the active and productive input of these social partners. We hope other Member States will follow our example to enable this Convention to gain sufficient cloud to effectively lead to better living and working conditions for fishers worldwide. Ratifying and implementing the Convention is a first step, now we must join forces to put in place an adequate enforcement of the Convention on board fishing vessels”.

When receiving the instrument of ratification, Mr Moussa Oumarou, ILO's Deputy Director-General for Field Operations & Partnerships, stated: “I am pleased to welcome this new ratification of Convention No. 188 and congratulate the intense tripartite work and social dialogue conducted in the Netherlands to obtain this result. Fishers work for all of us in one of the most dangerous professions in the world. We therefore celebrate The Netherlands’ decision to step up their efforts to ensure decent working and living conditions for this category of workers and pave the way for other countries to do the same.”

Netherlands has a substantial fishing sector. The total weight of fish and shellfish landed by the Dutch fishing fleet in 2017 was 375.6 thousand tonnes, with a value of EUR 431.3 million. In 2018, the fleet consisted of 721 registered vessels, with a combined gross tonnage of 103 thousand. The Dutch fishing fleet is divided into a small-scale coastal fleet (vessels under 12m using passive gears; 34% of the vessels in 2018) and a large-scale fleet (66% of the vessels in 2018). Total employment in 2017 was estimated around 2 150 jobs. Around 14% of the jobs come from the small coastal fleet, with the remainder coming from the large-scale fleet.

The Work in Fishing Convention will come into force for the Netherlands on 19 December 2020, one year after the ratification.

For more background information on ILO’s work in the fishing sector, please visit the ILO’s Fisheries webpage.