ILO work in fishing convention

All notices in relation to the ILO work in fishing convention.

Work in fishing convention (ILO 188)

The International Labour Organization’s work in fishing convention (ILO 188) came into force internationally on 16 November 2017. The UK government made legislation to implement ILO 188 in November 2018, and ratified in January 2019.

ILO 188 entitles all fishermen to written terms and conditions of employment (a fisherman’s work agreement), decent accommodation and food, medical care, regulated working time, repatriation, social protection and health and safety on board. It also provides minimum standards relating to recruitment and placement and includes a mandatory requirement to have a certificate of medical fitness to work onboard a fishing vessel.

Who it applies to

ILO 188 applies to all fishermen working on fishing vessels of any size, with more prescriptive standards for vessels over 24m in length or operating on longer voyages, three days or more.

Model fisherman’s work agreements

The latest version of MCA’s model fishermen work agreements can be found here. We are continuing to work with industry to improve these agreements. If you have any comments please e-mail You are not required to use these models, but each work agreement must contain certain minimum information - see MGN 583(F) ILO work in fishing convention, fishermans work agreements.

ILO 188 statutory instruments

SI2018/1106 The Merchant Shipping (Work in Fishing Convention) Regulations

SI2018/1107 The Merchant Shipping (Work in Fishing Convention) (Survey and Certification) Regulations

SI2018/1108 The Merchant Shipping (Work in Fishing Convention) (Medical Certification) Regulations

SI2018/1109 The Merchant Shipping (Work in Fishing Convention) (Consequential Provisions) Regulations.

Phased in as outlined.


Published 23 November 2018
Last updated 21 February 2019 + show all updates
  1. Model fisherman's work agreements added

  2. Updated to include, MGN 596 helping to improve the management of safety on fishing vessels.

  3. Updated to included MGN 583 (F) ILO work in fishing convention fishermen's work agreements (FWAs).

  4. Updated to include MGN 588 (F) ILO work in fishing convention compulsory provision and wearing of personal flotation devices on fishing vessels.

  5. First published.