Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Sectoral social dialogue - Sea fisheries

Sectors of activity :

Social partners

Workers' organisations Employers' organisations
European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) Association of national organisations of fishing enterprises in the EU (Europêche)
  Fisheries section of COGECA - General Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives in the European Union

Social dialogue in this sector covers (activities defined by NACE (Rev.2) code 3.11):

  • fishing
  • aquaculture.

The EU is the world’s second-largest fishing power after China. It produces almost 7 million tonnes of fish, about 5 % of the world total.

Around 350 000 people work in fisheries, processing and aquaculture in the EU.

Industry challenges include:

  • finding the right balance between fishing jobs and fish stocks, while promoting diversification and new forms of income within the sector  
  • increased competition from non-EU fishing fleets with lower social and environmental standards and the globalisation of the market in fish
  • health and safety
  • lack of harmonised standards on training and certification of fishermen
  • ensuring decent living and working conditions on board fishing vessels.

The social partners aim to:

  • reduce the high number of accidents at sea
  • increase onboard safety.

Key areas

The sectoral social dialogue committee for fisheries focuses on:

  • following up the reform of the EU common fisheries policy
  • lobbying for the transposition of the International Labour Organisation Convention on work in fishing
  • following up measures under the integrated maritime policy
  • monitoring the ratification of the International Maritime Organisation International Convention on Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F),
  • health and safety issues
  • monitoring that the social clause is included in fisheries agreements and enforced in sustainable fisheries partnership agreements
  • promoting decent work in fisheries
  • making attractiveness of the sector attractive, in particular towards young workers.

Activities and meetings

Check the library entries for the sectoral social dialogue committee.

Recent achievements


  • Joint comments on the communication for a EU maritime security strategy
  • Joint statement on the EU ‘de minimis’ aid rule in the fishery and aquaculture sector


  • Joint opinion on the social clause to be inserted into Fisheries Partnership Agreements
  • Joint position on the Regulation establishing specific conditions to fishing for deep-sea stocks
  • Agreement on the transposition of the ILO Convention n°188 on work in fishing, now transformed in a proposal for an EU directive (29 April 2016) implementing the Social Partners' Agreement on the Work in Fishing Convention.

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