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The right to life and health of fishermen is enshrined in the Constitution and labour laws, but in practice this right is not exercised effectively, since there is no formal employee-employer relationship. This study sought to establish the health conditions of this population, to characterise the mechanisms through which their rights can be realised and to propose interventions in the public policies that can facilitate their execution.The first part was based on a sampling of four fishing zones of the Venezuelan Caribbean, with a total sample of 455 active fishermen, characterising labour risks and health conditions. The second part consisted of a description of the normative set, from the Constitution, the Law of Occupational Health and the Law of Fishing, complemented with interviews with authorities of National Fishing Institute.The most prevalent health conditions were musculoskeletal upper limb disorders and left unilateral hearing loss. In reference to the occupational health system, there was a total lack of application of the rights enshrined in the regulation, but it cannot be applied due to the absence of a formal working relationship, with the consequent lack of coercive regime and the inapplicability of fines or infringements for breach.Fishermen in the region are not protected by national regulations on occupational health and safety, which is why they have a high rate of involvement due to pathologies of occupational origin. There is a great opportunity to positively influence this situation, including postulates related to occupational health and safety in the regulations of the Fisheries Act, and incorporating items of protection to the health of fishermen in the fishery inspection procedure, in charge of granting the territorial catch concessions to the shipowners.