EU Social Partners for Fisheries: shaping a better path for a sustainable future for the fishing industry

1 Jun 2023

Joint Press Release

The European social partners for sea fisheries (Europêche and ETF) made use of the European Maritime Day in Brest, France, to progress in their project fully focused on improving the social dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy.

In their joint effort, Europêche and ETF, in the framework of the ‘Pillars of the Sea 3’  project, work together with specialists on the development of a wide range of tools like guidelines, course programmes, legal analyses, and recommendations for a safer, healthier, and more worker-friendly fisheries sector in not only the EU but also worldwide.

The discussions in Brest focused on key issues to which the project is expected to come up with practical solutions by mid-2024. Particularly on social issues like the recruitment and work opportunities for migrant fishers, training programmes for medical examinators certifying fishers, tools to address forced labour in the value chain, and a mobile app to address the absence of a common language in vessels operated by multinational crews which can jeopardise safety on board.

In parallel and taking advantage of the organisation of the European Maritime Day, productive dialogues took place between the project experts, the social partners and the larger Europe’s maritime community to discuss how the project deliveries can contribute to a sustainable blue economy. During the meeting, the project partners assessed, measured and made good progress on the first outputs. The final results will be presented in Brussels in the second half of 2024.

About the EU project

The project, co-funded by the EU, partially implements the work programme of the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Sea Fishing in order to significantly make progress in various key areas of interest for Social Partners.

Pillar 1: Guidelines for vessel owners on decent recruitment of migrant fishers. The guidelines will be based on EU legislation and other binding international instruments and be used to constitute model contracts between a fisher and a private employment agency, between a fishing vessel owner and a private employment agency, and fisher’s work agreement.

To be developed by the international expert on social affairs, Estelle Brendtall.

Pillar 2: Training programme for doctors performing the medical examination of fishers. In the previous project, the Social Partners successfully developed guidelines on the medical examination of fishers. As a continuation of this work, it is essential for doctors who conduct medical examinations and issue medical certificates to receive training via guidance which fits the specificities of sea fishers.

To be developed by International Maritime Health Association (IMHA).

Pillar 3: Legal analysis on market and custom tools to combat forced labour in the fishing industry. This pillar will explore the possibility for the EU to restrict or prohibit seafood imports from fishing vessels or countries identified for children or serious labour abuse, including no respect for basic human rights on board fishing vessels.

To be developed by the Marinnleg foundation.

Pillar 4: Upgrade of the ‘’Fishery Speak’ app, an interactive glossary providing an overview of the main phrases used on board a fishing vessel. The aim of this upgrade is, therefore, to add further languages identified as essential and the necessary uploads and technical updates of the mobile application.

To be developed by IT company, Innatial developers SL.

The project is a continued effort under the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Sea Fishing in order to significantly make progress in various key areas of interest for Social Partners.

More information on the outputs of the previous work can be found here:

The mobile application developed to improve onboard safety as well as navigation security which will be upgraded in the course of this project can already be downloaded and used:

Android download

iOS download