Improving living and working conditions for fishers: Namibia and Senegal join the fight

The Government of the Republic of Namibia has ratified the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188) on 20 September 2018. On 21 September 2018, the Government of the Republic of Senegal has equally ratified Convention No. 188.

Press release | 22 October 2018
(ILO News)- Namibia and Senegal, two major African fishing nations, thus become the 11th and 12th ILO member State, respectively, to ratify this Convention, which entered into force on 16 November 2017 following the ratifications by Angola, Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Congo, Estonia, France, Lithuania, Morocco, Norway and South Africa.

Convention No. 188 provides the international legal framework for decent work in the fishing sector. It aims to ensure that the world’s 38 million fishers working on commercial fishing vessels enjoy decent working and living conditions on board. It sets out minimum requirements on, among others, conditions of service (such as rest periods, written work agreements, regular pay, repatriation), accommodation and food, occupational safety and health, medical care at sea and ashore, and social security protection at the same level as shore workers.

Namibia, with a coastline of 1.572 km, has one of the most productive fishing grounds in the world. Its fisheries sector includes industrialized marine capture fisheries, recreational fisheries, inland capture fisheries, mariculture and freshwater aquaculture. It is one of the major contributors to the country’s GDP, and in 2013, exports of fish and fishery products were valued at USD 787 million (second sector in terms of export earnings). Currently, Namibia is one of the largest seafood producers in Africa and has a modern fishing industry with a great potential for growth.

In Senegal, which has a coastline of 531 km, the fisheries sector makes a significant contribution to the economy. Capture production was 395 400 tonnes of marine fish and 30 000 tonnes of freshwater fish in 2015. The sector contributed 1.8 percent to the GDP in 2015 and provided more than 53 100 direct and an estimated 540 000 indirect jobs, mainly in artisanal fishing and processing. Senegal is by far a net exporter of fish and fishery products, with exports reaching USD 353 million and imports valued only 20 million in 2015.

The Convention will enter into force for Namibia on 20 September 2019 and for Senegal on 21 September 2019.