Dirk Demaeght 2


Pescadores by Jorge Llorca Martínez

On this page the International Christian Maritime Association highlights its ministries to fishers and their families.

The International Christian Maritime Association is committed to care for the wellbeing of fishers and their families.  Some of our members dedicate their entire ministry to fishers.  Others meet fishers as part of their regular pastoral care to people of the sea. Even so, we are aware that much needs to be done to develop ministries to fishers.  Father Bruno Ciceri (Apostleship of the Sea International) spoke for all us at the 23rd AOS World Congress held in Vatican City during 2012 when he said:

“…Fishing is, in a way, a painful subject. We talk about it,
many of us do a great job in offering direct assistance to fishers in trouble, but we have not really made an imprint on this sector. It is necessary to give new vigor to our ministries to fishers.  We should consider again the idea to organise a special meeting only for the chaplains and volunteers involved in fishing.”

The International Christian Maritime Association has a standing committee dedicated to the ministry of fishers.  The Committee will pay particular attention to the ratification and implementation of the ILO’s International Convention on Fishers.

The Association invites all its members to contribute to a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities in our ministries to fishers. The Committee is available to provide support and advice to ICMA members on all matters pertaining to fishers.

The picture on this page won first prize in the Seafarers’ Picture of the Year Competition, 2010.  The competition was organised by AoS Barcelona.



ICMA Standing Committee on Fishers

The Standing Committee on Minstry to Fishers is chaired jointly by Father Bruno Ciceri (Apostleship of the Sea) and Reverend Andrew Wright (The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishers).

Reverend Andrew Wright and father Bruno Ciceri




Terms of Reference for ICMA’s Committee on the Ministry to Fishers

The ICMA Standing Committee for the Ministry to Fishers was established in 2012.

The Terms of Reference of the Committee were approved by the Executive Committee in London during that year.

Any member of ICMA that delivers pastoral care to fishers and their families are welcome to join the Committee

or to make contributions to the work of the Committee.



A Biblical Call for Responsible Fishing

Dirk Demaeght is an Apostleship of the Sea port chaplain to fishers and fisher families in Belgium and an advocate for fishers in the European Union.  Following on his presentation at the 23rd AOS World Congress in Rome (2012), Dirk Demaeght has submitted the present paper addressing concerns for fishers and the ecological debate in the European Union.

What, he asks, are God’s Biblical principles for responsible fishing?

In Demaeght’s view:

The heated ecological debate brings fishermen in disrepute.  Fishers, who earn their living at sea, are embarrassed. They cannot respond eloquently, and crawl into their shell. The environmental temperature has an impact on the fishery sector and on the wellbeing of fishing families.

CLICK HERE to read his paper “A Biblical Call for Responsible Fishing”


Gospel Tradition and the reality of Fishers, Dirk Demaeght

Apostleship of the Sea port chaplain from Belgium, Dirk Demaeght, made this presentation at the 2012 AOS World Congress XXIII in The Vatican City.

The presentation highlights Dirk’s belief in the need for a pastoral approach to fishers and fisher families.

CLICK HERE to read Dirk Demaeght’s paper on ministries to fishers.



Human trafficking in the fishing sector

The International Labour Organisation hosted a tripartite consultation in Turin, Italy during 2012.  The consultation addressed human trafficking in the fishing sector.

Father Bruno Ciceri (AOS International) represented ICMA at the consultations.  The attached document gives an idea of the problem.




International Labour Organisation Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No.188)

“Fishing is one of the world’s earliest industries and today provides a livelihood for millions of families around the world. Approximately 36 million people are engaged in capture fishing and aquaculture worldwide. Of these, an estimated 27 million work in capture fishing alone. Like seafarers, fishers are exposed to significant hazards, including rough weather at sea, crushing waves, powerful and dangerous machinery, hooks and shark bites. An estimated 24,000 persons working in the fish industry die from work-related causes every year. Fishing is also a very diverse industry, ranging from highly organized commercial deep-sea fishing operations to the more common small-scale and artisan fishing. The majority of fishers still belong to the informal sector. An estimated 45% of the total world catch is taken by small-scale fishers. The wage payment system is normally based on a share in the value of the catch. Many fishers are employed in fishing only on a part-time and temporary basis and earn the rest of their income through additional occupations, agricultural or other. To respond to the specific needs of workers engaged in fishing, the ILO has developed standards specifically aimed at providing protection for the men and women who work in this sector. In view of the importance of the fishing industry and the developments that have taken place since the adoption of fishing standards in 1959 and 1966 respectively, the ILO has adopted at its 96th annual Conference in June 2007 a new comprehensive standard on conditions of work in the fishing sector: the Work in Fishing Convention (No. 188) and Recommendation (No. 199), 2007.”

CLICK HERE to see the list of countries that have ratified the Convention.  On December 28th, 2012 only two countries have ratified.

Source: ILO



Fisheries and Aquaculture

The  Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission publishes a magazine ‘Fisheries and aquaculture’ five times a year. It is published in 23 European languages. It is distributed free upon request.  Each edition contains interesting information on the European Union fishing fleet’s operation all over the world.  Volunteers and staff of ICMA’s members who have ministries to fishers and fishing communities will do well to receive this informative magazine.  Perhaps some of you would like to distribute copies from your seafarers’ centers.

CLICK HERE to see an example in English

CLICK HERE to subscribe to the magazine.


The European Union set to speed up ratification of 188

The European Union continues to work at the eventual ratification of ILO No 188.  Even though the Convention has not yet been ratified by the EU, the Union has implemented regulations that are set to improve the working conditions of European fishers.

The attached document is a report dated earlier in 2012.  It relates to the agreement reached in Gothenburg, on 21st May 2012.  It states that Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, participated in the signing ceremony for an agreement between the European Union sea fisheries social partners on implementation of the 2007 Work in Fishing Convention of the International Labour Organization.

CLICK HERE for an article on the progress being made by the European Union to ratify the ILO Work in Fishing Convention 2007.