Fishing, safety and the Human Element


The recent Nautical Institute Seaways article (June 2017) in co-ordination with the New Zealand based FISH Safety Foundation has looked in detail at the growing need and trend to openly discuss the issues of safety in the global fishing industry, including the protection of basic human rights. The Foundation is a Supporting Entity to Human Rights at Sea, as is The Nautical Institute.

[Original article: Seaways June 2017. Reproduced with permission.]

Fishing and the Human Element

The Nautical Institute and the FISH Safety Foundation take a fresh look at fishing safety

“The positive contribution of fishing to the world economy, and the vital need to secure a safe and sustainable food chain, is well known and understood. But the true human cost of fishing is less well known. The ILO estimates that some 24,000 deaths occur annually in the pursuit of fishing – making fishing the most hazardous occupation in the world. And this is without counting the disproportionally high negative health effects of fishing on industry participants.

In an effort to improve safety and related issues in the industry, the ILO adopted a new Convention – The Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No.188) and accompanying Recommendation (No. 199) in 2007. The Convention, which comes into force in November 2017, places emphasis on the need to improve occupational safety and health standards for workers in the fishing sector, focusing on an evidenced-based, risk management approach when dealing with safety matters.

It’s against this background that the FISH Safety Foundation has been established. The FISH Safety Foundation or FISH (Fishing Industry Safety & Health) was originally conceptualised nearly 20 years ago following a request by the ILO to the current Chief Executive of the Foundation for information regarding the state of health and safety in the South African fishing industry. From this study, the idea of a not-for-profit organisation actively promoting health and safety in the international fishing industry was born.”



Eric Holliday, Chief Executive of the Foundation and in relation to safety as a basic human right, commented: “The right to a safe workplace and occupation is a basic Human Right. Sadly, in the fishing industry, this right is sometimes abused, causing untold misery. The charity, Human Rights at Sea, is doing some incredibly important work in trying to improve this situation, and the FISH Safety Foundation is proud to offer our support in this task.

The Foundation is an independent non-profit organisation engaged in safety promotion, research, advocacy, education, lobbying and publishing services. We are dedicated to improving health & safety standards in the global Fishing Industry – an industry recognised as the most hazardous in the World.

When we talk of safety, we mean safety from work-related physical harm or death, safety from preventable illness and disease, and safety from exploitation – very simply, safety from the abuse of basic human rights, whatever form that takes.”


For more information, please contact:

Eric Holliday

Chief Executive, FISH Safety Foundation





Scroll to top
We use cookies to help us measure the impact of our work, you can read more about it in our Privacy Policy. Are you ok with this? Yes | No