This is a new service - yourfeedback (opens in a new tab)will help us improve it.

Work in Fishing Convention (ILO 188)

The International Labour Organization’s Work in Fishing Convention (ILO 188) came into force in the UK in December 2018. 

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.

Dave Fenner, Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Head of Fishing Safety said:

"Many fishing vessel owners are already doing much of what is required in these new regulations but to make sure you can comply with all the new regulations and in advance of your next fishing vessel inspection, we want to offer guidance on how you can meet the regulations and find the information you need." 

Dave went on to say, "The regulations cover three things:

  • Safety at Work
  • Terms and Conditions for everyone working on the vessel
  • Medical Fitness

For most owners, the priority is to check the new standards for safety and the terms and conditions for workers because these requirements are in force now."

How to comply

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has published the guidance you need to comply with ILO 188. The three main areas of compliance are safety, terms and conditions, and health.

The following lists highlight the main requirements you need to check to comply with ILO 188. You can also email questions about ILO 188 to


You will need to have done the following:

  • Discuss and write a formal risk assessment for your vessel
  • Check the Marine Guidance Notices (MGNs) below

Safety Marine Guidance Notices

If after doing a written risk assessment on your vessel you cannot discount the possibility of a man overboard (MOB), then you must wear a personal flotation device (PFD) on deck.

Terms and conditions for fishermen

Make sure you’ve completed the following:

  • Written a fisherman’s work agreement for all the fishermen on your vessel
  • Checked the guidance notes below
    • MGN 583 (F) Amendment 1 ILO Fishermen's work agreements
    • MGN 585 ILO work in fishing convention payment of fishermen
    • MGN 584 work in fishing convention repatriation
    • MSN 1882 (F) ILO work in fishing convention minimum age
    • MGN 620 ILO work in fishing recruitment and placement of fishermen
    • MGN 582 (F) ILO Work in fishing convention, financial security 


You will need to have completed the following:

  • Check you have your certificate of medical fitness available before the phased in date (30 November 2023).  
  • Check the guidance notes below

If you are not getting your entitlements under the legislation, you have the right to complain to the MCA who will investigate. You can find more information in MGN 589 (ILO work in fishing convention complaints). You can make complaints directly to an MCA surveyor or a welfare organisation such as the Fishermen’s Mission. Alternatively, email