Cape Town Agreement Ratification Status

The Cape Town Agreement on the Implementation of the Provisions of the Torremolinos Protocol of 1993 relating to the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, 1977, is a treaty aimed at improving the safety of fishing vessels. The Agreement sets out minimum safety standards for the construction and equipment of fishing vessels of 24 meters in length and above.

The Agreement was adopted on 11 October 2012 and has been open for signature since 11 October 2013. In order to come into force, it must be ratified by at least 22 States, with an aggregate fleet of at least 3,600 fishing vessels of 24 meters in length and above.

As of September 2021, 14 States have ratified the Agreement: Belgium, Congo, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Saint Kitts and Nevis, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Togo and Vanuatu. This represents around 1,200 fishing vessels of 24 meters in length and above, which is still short of the required 3,600.

The lack of ratifications is a concern as the fishing industry is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world, with a high rate of accidents and fatalities. The Cape Town Agreement aims to reduce these risks by requiring fishing vessels to meet minimum safety standards, such as having appropriate lifesaving appliances and fire-fighting equipment on board.

In addition to the safety benefits, the Agreement also aims to improve the sustainability of the fishing industry by reducing the number of accidents and the resulting loss of vessels and crew, which can lead to overfishing and damage to marine ecosystems.

It is important for more States to ratify the Cape Town Agreement in order for it to come into force and improve the safety and sustainability of the fishing industry. Fishing vessel owners, workers and policymakers can play a role in advocating for their governments to ratify the Agreement and prioritize safety and sustainability in the fishing industry.