Statement from IFPO chief executive, Aodh O Donnell, on Migrant Fishers’ Rights:

“The IFPO unequivocally supports the right of all non-EEA migrant fishers to fair treatment in the workplace. Traditionally, many crew members on Irish fishing vessels are ‘share-fishers’ and, therefore, self-employed. But whether crew members are employed or self-employed, they have the right to fair working conditions. We support the implementation of overdue legislation to protect migrant fishers and to grant them the full rights and entitlements under Employment legislation.”

“On a practical level, we work proactively with our members to increase their awareness of the rights of non-EEA fishers. We believe it would be useful to introduce a module on Employment Law in the BIM’s vessel owners/skippers training programmes, as recommended by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in their February 2022 report.”

“Our crews are the backbone of the traditional fishing activity. Ours is a professionally operated sector, committed to international best practice. These employees have valuable skill sets that are critical to our business and are much prized. We have shared goals, and we strive for continuity and international best practice.”


“Our vessel owners recently joined in solidarity with our migrant crew colleagues to support them in a protest at Leinster House. This initiative was led by crew and skippers alike and aimed to raise awareness of much-needed legislative change to current permit schemes.”

“We welcome proposals to add additional information for non-EEA migrant fishers onto the WRC’s webpage, ‘Working on Irish Fishing Vessels’. In turn, we can share this information online via our website and on our social media and encourage members to share this information with migrant crew members.”

“To drive much needed change in employment permit schemes, the IFPO also engage collaboratively with other Fishery Organisations to attend cross agency meetings facilitated by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. This process involves our members in submitting constructive proposals to government departments which regulate this sector. In this way, we are unique in working with our crews to press for much needed legislative changes in the permit schemes for fishers. We are pressing to have them entered into the Critical Skills Employment Permit system.”

“Fair and equal treatment is a fundamental principle and we do not condone any abuse or victimisation of crew. Ours is a partnership with a commitment to these colleagues, partners upon whom we depend. As in all workplaces, it is in everyone’s interest to have a satisfied crew, operating in good conditions, to ensure a shared long-term future in a challenging international environment”