Director, Fisheries Research Institute
University of Iceland
Fisheries historian and writer
The Reykjavik Academy
Jeremy M.M. Turner
Senior Fishery Industry Officer
FAO Fisheries Department
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
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© FAO 2001
PREPARATION OF THIS DOCUMENT
The Fisheries Department of FAO has been working in the field of fishermen's safety for 50 years, during which the fishing industry has been greatly affected by political, social, economic and technological changes. These changes have led inexorably to increased pressure on fish resources. Consequently, governments have recognized that they need to be better aware of the state of their fisheries, to implement effective policies to prevent resource depletion and the wastage of fisheries inputs and, increasingly, to facilitate stock rehabilitation. While the extent and effect of fisheries management measures put in place around the world vary widely, they tend to be more concerned with the long-term conservation and sustainable use of fisheries resources than with the welfare of those who harvest them.
Maritime administrations on the other hand, have safety of seafarers as one of their overriding concerns. They frequently have difficulty in addressing the safety aspects of the fishing industry adequately because the nature of fishing operations is so different from the cargo handling and transport activities encountered in merchant shipping. Fishing vessels are excluded from the vast majority of provisions of international shipping conventions, and to this day, there is no international instrument in force dealing with the safety of fishing vessels or the training of their crews. While the formulation and enforcement of regulations have an important role to play in safety, data collection and analysis, training and education, fisheries management and perhaps above all, the attitudes and relationships of all parties concerned, also play a key part.
The Fishery Industries Division of FAO commissioned this report to provide an up-to-date global review of the status of fishermen's safety, and to provide an assessment of opportunities, constraints and priorities for action, both for FAO and for national administrations.
PERSONAL NOTE OF THANKS
We would like to express our gratitude to the Fishery Industries Division of FAO for offering us the opportunity to take on this challenging task and providing us with excellent facilities to carry it out, through the "FAO Visiting Experts from Academic and Research Institutions Programme"; likewise we are grateful to the University of Iceland for their support.
In the course of our work, we have consulted a large number of FAO staff members, who have all gone out of their way to be of assistance. In particular we would like to thank our co-author, Jeremy M.M. Turner for the personal and professional pleasure we have had working with him. Similarly, we thank other members of the FAO Fisheries Department: Andy Smith, Jan Johnson, Joël Prado, David Doulman and John Willy Valdemarsen. Bill Edeson from the Legal Office provided us with sound advice on matters of the law and Adriana Ingretolli solved our main practical problems. Last but not least, we thank Grimur Valdimarsson and his wife Kristin for turning Rome into a home away from home for us from our very first till our last day in this wonderful city.
Gudrun Petursdottir and Olafur Hannibalsson
Petursdottir, G.; Hannibalsson, O.; Turner, J.M.M.
Fishing has always been, and continues to be a dangerous occupation. While risk will always be an inherent part of fishing, measures to reduce risks at sea have had some success, particularly in the technologically advanced parts of the world. Nevertheless, fishing still holds the record as the most dangerous occupation pursued by man.
One of the basic obstacles to improved safety is the fact that, in most places, safety measures have been carried out on a voluntary basis. Regulations covering the construction and equipment of larger vessels generally exempt vessels under 24m and in most countries safety education and training are still not obligatory.
In this paper it is argued that safety at sea should be integrated into the general management of the fisheries in each country. The global fisheries situation has changed dramatically in recent years. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which came into force in 1994, states not only the rights, but also the obligations of coastal states to manage their 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). Thus it is to be expected that coastal nations will take measures accordingly over the coming years. This will open the way for regulations ensuring the safety and well-being of the fishermen, as well as sustainable utilization of the fishstocks. The industrialized countries have spent decades trying to improve safety at sea on a voluntary basis. There is now general consensus amongst safety promoters that obligatory safety training is the prerequisite for any success. Linking safety requirements to fishing permits for example, is a practical way of overcoming the lack of motivation that has been a barrier to improved safety at sea for fishermen for so long.
Safety at sea is a very serious problem in the developing countries. It is likely that many developing nations will seek external advice in planning the management of fisheries in their EEZ. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has many years of experience in providing expert advice and assistance for fisheries in the developing countries and developing an extensive network of local expertise. It is particularly well placed to provide assistance for improved fishermen's safety in the fields of data collection and analysis, training, education and the development of regulations, and will advocate a holistic approach to fisheries management with safety at sea as an integral part of the management regime.
.... a high risk of loss of life or injury has been accepted as a part of the fishing-culture. "A fisherman's life should and had to be dangerous." This attitude has perhaps been one of the major underestimated obstacles to improved safety and work environment in fishing.
Sverre, J. E. Nordland
Research Institute, Norway
International Symposium on Safety and Working
Conditions Aboard Fishing Vessels,
Université de Quebec, Rimouski, 1989
FATALITIES IN FISHERIES
INADEQUATE DOCUMENTATION OF INJURIES
INHERENT DANGERS IN FISHERIES
IMO - ILO - FAO
UN LAW OF THE SEA CONVENTION
TORREMOLINOS CONVENTION AND THE TORREMOLINOS PROTOCOL
CODE OF SAFETY FOR FISHERMEN AND FISHING VESSELS
FAO-ILO-IMO VOLUNTARY GUIDELINES FOR THE DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPMENT OF SMALL FISHING VESSELS
STANDARDS OF TRAINING, CERTIFICATION AND WATCHKEEPING FOR FISHING VESSEL PERSONNEL (STCW-F CONVENTION)
DOCUMENT FOR GUIDANCE ON THE TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION OF FISHING VESSEL PERSONNEL (FAO/ILO/IMO)
THE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR RESPONSIBLE FISHERIES
IMO CODE FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF MARINE CASUALTIES AND INCIDENTS
OTHER RELATED IMO CONVENTIONS
APPLICATION OF CONVENTIONS AND REGULATIONS TO FISHERIES
RELUCTANCE TO ATTEND SAFETY COURSES
OBLIGATORY SAFETY TRAINING
THE EFFECT OF OBLIGATORY TRAINING ON FATALITY RATES
FISHERIES MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
Access limited by size (and type of gear)
Total Allowable Catch (TAC)
TAC with restricted days at sea
Individual Quotas (IQs)
Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs)
EFFECT OF REMUNERATION AND COMMAND PATTERNS
THE INEVITABILITY OF FISHERIES MANAGEMENT
SAFETY AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF FISHERIES MANAGEMENT
THE FISHING FLEET
BUILDING STANDARDS AND INSPECTION
INSURERS AND FINANCERS
SMALL BOATS VENTURING FAR OUT
TRAINING OF TRAINERS, INSPECTORS AND FISHERMEN
Who will be trained
SEARCH AND RESCUE
CONTROL AND ENFORCEMENT
REGISTRY OF VESSELS
Figure 1. Distribution of decked fishing vessels by tonnage
Figure 2. Reason's model
Figure 3. Numbers of undecked fishing vessels by continent
Figure 4. Numbers of undecked fishing vessels powered and not-powered
by engines by continent
Box 1. Estimated number of people engaged in fisheries
Box 2. Composition of the fishing fleet
Box 3. Reason's model
Box 4. Voluntary safety training inadequate
Box 5. Voluntary safety-at-sea organizations
Box 6. Joint MCS, artisanal safety at sea and SAR - A common solution
Box 7. The Code of Conduct and safety at sea