Call For Action Over Fishers' Safety –

Call For Action Over Fishers’ Safety Fishing Monthly Published:  19 August, 2002

Reports underline safety issues

AN MP has called for the UK Government to renew its efforts to improve fishing industry safety.

Liberal Democrat fisheries spokesman and St Ives MP Andrew George said two recent reports have raised concerns over the continuing high level of loss of fishermen at sea.

And Mr George said it was highly significant that in one of them, retiring Marine Accident Investigation Branch chief inspector John Lang had underlined the correlation between the economic fortunes of the fishing industry and safety.

For the Branch had concluded that when fishing was good and prices were high, safety improves, while when the opposite applied, fishermen took greater risks or sailed short handed and the accident rate increased.

Mr George said:“This is the first time any official has acknowledged what many of us already know to be true. There is a clear message for the Government here.”

But he said it was a pity the findings had emerged during the UK parliamentary recess, as it was important that ministers look at them and respond with a clear agenda for action to reduce fishing fatalities.

Meanwhile, a further report had found that despite a string of safety measures introduced over the last decade, trawler fishermen were far more likely to die in accidents than any other workers.

But some very straightforward measures could improve safety, the MP contended.

*See the Focus on Safety in September’s issue of Fishing Monthly