The fishing industry employs around 800 fishermen and there are 34 landing sites, as well as the main fishing ports of Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel, where the Fishermen's Mission also has centres.
Fishing remains a dangerous occupation. In the past, inflatable oilskins and lifejackets have been too cumbersome for fishermen to wear whilst working. These new PFD's are lightweight and specifically designed to not get in the way of the fishing. As fishing remains the most dangerous peacetime occupation it is vital to get the message across of how important it is for our fishermen to wear this device at all times.
Superintendent Maurice Lake from the Fishermen's Mission, who, working closely with Seafish, has applied for the funding for the PFD's says 'It is imperative to provide user friendly equipment to fishermen to improve the current safety record. One life saved is well worth the total value of this project. The Fishermen's Mission is committed to the safety of our fishermen remaining a key priority. We are deeply grateful to the European Fisheries Fund, DARD, Seafish and Asda who have all contributed towards the purchase of these PFD's'.
Dr Lynn Gilmore, from Seafish Northern Ireland, who played a key role in ensuring the success of the venture, added 'The local industry and community will benefit by having a better equipped crew and families will have peace of mind knowing their loved ones are better protected while at sea'.
The PFD's will be distributed to fishermen in the Northern Ireland fleet and will be distributed at a variety of Safety Events to be held across the country. The RNLI will also be a partner and will be talking about the facts surrounding cold water shock and the reality of the dangers of fishing.
If anyone would like further information regarding this project then please contact Superintendent Maurice Lake by emailing email@example.com . For further information regarding the work of the Fishermen's Mission visit their website www.fishermensmission.org.uk.