Safety and health at sea, priorities under the ongoing revision of the Fishing Vessel Safety EC Directive

22 Mar 2023

The evaluation of the Fishing Vessel Safety Directive (Directive 97/70/EC), setting up a harmonised safety regime for fishing vessels of 24 meters in length and over, is the occasion for the EU Social Partners for Sea Fisheries to ask the European Commission to improve safety and health at sea.

In an official letter addressed to the European Commission, in response to the public consultation on Fishing Vessel Safety Directive, the Social Partners ETF and Europeche underline that the Directive must be aligned with other key international agreements.

The EU Social Partners for Sea Fisheries offer solid arguments for why safety and health at sea should be considered priorities in the revision of Directive 97/70. In their position on the EC’s public consultation, they also indicate concrete ways to achieve it:

  • By aligning it with the Cape Town Agreement – for introducing up-to-date international standards and, thus, levelling the playing field for the global fishing fleet.
  • By aligning it with the SOLAS convention, where justified, and only after carefully analysing its socio-economic impact and taking into account the difference with the maritime sector.
  • By aligning it with the Port State Control – which shall also cover fishing vessels – to facilitate the introduction of a European control scheme for fishing vessels.
  • By extending its scope to vessels below 24 meters in length, with particular attention to those of 12 m and above, without jeopardising the existing national regimes that are already in place and more favourable.
  • By including a fishing safety management code to counterbalance the lack of specific safety management systems in the sector.
  • By transposing at the European level, the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing (STCW-F) to improve the standards of training of the workforce that is more and more international.

You can find here the position of the EU Social Partners for Sea Fisheries on the ongoing revision of Directive 97/70/EC.