This agreement will contribute to improved ocean governance by putting in place basic international safety requirements for fishing vessels. This will also help to counter illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing as poor safety standards are a hallmark of vessels whose operators under-report catch or fish illegally or minimize costs by all means, infringing law, endangering their crew and compromising the security of their vessel.
The 2012 Cape Town Agreement requires a total of 22 ratifying countries with an aggregate total fishing fleet of 3,600 vessels in order for the agreement to come into force. To date, a total of 11 countries with an aggregate fleet of 2,400 have ratified the convention, including 6 EU countries - Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.
The European Commission sees an urgent need to establish a global framework. The ratification of the 2012 Cape Town Agreement would create a global level playing field with the following benefits:
In the EU, as elsewhere, fishing is still a high-risk profession. In 2017, 203 injuries were recorded on fishing vessels and 13 fishermen lost their lives due to incidents at sea. A significant improvement compared to the 60 fatalities in 2014. Improving safety at sea is an essential part of the EU’s commitment to ocean governance and to the wellbeing of our 150,000 fishers and their families. By 15 November, Member States will have to comply with an EU directive transposing the ILO Work in Fishing Convention. The European Commission is also taking positive measures in all sea basins. For example, In the Mediterranean, the EU is creating a virtual regional academy. Coordinated by the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), this project will help train fisheries inspectors and standardise procedures for cross-border operations.