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Fishing Safety Improvements Urgently Needed

Politics Education & academia +1 more

UK - A report, which investigated the tragic loss of three fishermen's lives from incidents involving the vessels Korenbloem, Osprey III and Optik, calls for an urgent, properly funded plan of action to improve fishing safety.

The report which was put together by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) investigated the incidences which occured in November 2009.

The recommendation has been welcomed by Seafish, the authority on seafood.

Simon Potten, Training and Accreditation Manager at Seafish, added: "We are already working closely with industry, the Department for Transport (DfT), the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, MAIB and others to improve fishing safety.

"The DfT has provided £850,000 over the last three years for us to deliver a programme of voluntary training for fishermen. So far, over 1,600 mainly inshore fishermen have received training in navigation, engineering, stability and radio operation.

"We have also been able to award grants of up to £1,000 to 65 fishermen studying for Fishing Vessel Certificates of Competency. Furthermore, we have recently been able to use our combined resources to lever an additional £780k of funding from the European Fisheries Fund."

Formal training not only increases fishermen's knowledge, understanding and awareness, but the certificates they receive are transferable, enabling them to diversify into other activities to help supplement their income during quiet fishing times.

However, training alone is not enough. Fishing remains the most dangerous occupation in the UK, 120 times more dangerous than the UK average. More must be done to improve vessel safety and to develop and introduce safer working practices, such as the wearing of personal flotation devices while working on open decks and the fitting of personal locator beacons, such as the RNLI's MOB-Guardian.

If a properly funded plan of action can be secured involving all relevant agencies and organisations involved in fishing safety, it will provide an excellent opportunity to make a real and lasting difference to the industry.

To see the full report click here.