Joint initiative hopes to improve Northern Irish fishermen’s safety Published: 13 May, 2013
A joint initiative by national charity, the Fishermens Mission, Seafish, DARD (Department for Agriculture and Rural Development), through the European Fisheries Fund and Asda will be helping to ensure that fishermen around the coast of Northern Ireland will be able to receive a Personal Flotation Device (PFD).
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 Fishermens 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 PFDs 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 howimportant it is for our fishermen to wear this device at all times.
Superintendent Maurice Lake from the Fishermens Mission, who, working closely with Seafish, has applied for the funding for the PFDs 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 Fishermens 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 PFDs.”
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 PFDs 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.