Because of the nature of the fishing industry it is extremely difficult to develop regulations for other sections of the shipping industry, which can be applied without modification to fishing vessels.
The Convention will apply to crews of seagoing fishing vessels generally of 24 metres in length and above.
It was originally intended that requirements for crews on fishing vessels should be developed as a Protocol to the main STCW Convention, but after careful consideration it was agreed that it would be better to adopt a completely separate Convention. The Convention is the first attempt to make standards of safety for crews of fishing vessels mandatory internationally.
The STCW-F Convention is comparatively short and consists of 15 Articles and an annex containing technical regulations.
Chapter I contains General Provisions and Chapter II deals with Certification of Skippers, Officers, Engineer Officers and Radio Operators.
Document for Guidance on Training and Certification of Fishing Vessel Personnel
Previously, efforts to improve the training, certification and watchkeeping standards of fishing vessel personnel have been adopted as recommendations in Assembly resolutions and the Document for Guidance on Fishermens' Training and Certification produced jointly by IMO and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The Document for Guidance took account of the conventions and recommendations adopted by ILO and IMO and the wide practical experience of FAO in the field of fishermen’s training and covered training and certification of small-scale and industrial fishermen. In 1995 a joint working group, in co-operation with FAO and ILO, reviewed the Document for Guidance with particular reference to relevant resolutions of the STCW-F Convention.
The outcome was a revised document entitled Document for Guidance on Training and Certification of Fishing Vessel Personnel, which was approved by FAO, ILO and IMO in 2000 and published on behalf of the three organizations by IMO in 2001.
Fishing vessel safety code and voluntary guidelines
IMO has developed, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), a number of non-mandatory instruments. These include the FAO/ILO/IMO Document for Guidance on Fishermen's Training and Certification and the revised Code of Safety for Fishermen and Fishing Vessels, 2005, and the Voluntary Guidelines for the Design, Construction and Equipment of Small Fishing Vessels, 2005.
The revised Fishing Vessel Safety Code and Voluntary Guidelines - originally developed and approved in the 1970s - have been developed for use primarily by competent authorities, training institutions, fishing vessel owners, fishermen's representative organizations and non-governmental organizations having a recognized role in fishermen's safety and health and training.
Part A of the Code provides guidance on the development of national codes and fishermen's education and training manuals and guidance on the safety and health of fishermen. Competent authorities will be encouraged to make use of the contents of the Code and the Voluntary Guidelines in the production of safety and health and training materials in an appropriate format to suit the particular needs of the fisheries of the country or region and in local languages.