In early 2003 FAO undertook a survey of fisheries-related sea safety in the Pacific Islands region. The objective of the work was to consolidate the experience gained by selected countries in safety at sea with the view of improving ongoing and future activities in the region.
The countries directly surveyed in the present study were Tuvalu, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Kiribati. Five main topics were covered: the relation of fisheries management to sea safety, safety programmes, data recording, legislation, and boat building and vessel design.
The major regional fisheries-oriented sea safety initiatives in the Pacific islands have been the 1991 FAO survey and the more recent work of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).
The concept of including sea safety as a specific objective of fisheries management is not common in the countries covered by the survey. In several countries, safety appears to be considered when formulating management interventions, but the idea that saving lives of fishers could be one of the stated objectives of government management intervention does not occur in the five countries. To ensure that sea safety is included in fisheries management, a number of measures are suggested.