Fishing Safety

Learning from fisheries accidents in the Caribbean


Various Caribbean countries have worked in 2020-2021 with FAO on improving safety at sea for small-scale fishers. Within the safety learning process it is useful to understand the causes of accidents. This will assist the authorities and training institutes to design targeted training for fishers to further reduce the number of accidents and fatalities in fisheries. 

FAO, the FISH Safety Foundation and the Department of Fisheries of Saint Lucia collaborated to develop a fisheries accident reporting system for the country. Information collected at national level was combined with best-practice approaches from other countries to provide the competent authorities and their investigators with a structured approach to meeting their legislative requirements to record, investigate, analyze, and report on accidents in the fishing sector. These guidelines are based on international standards, models and lessons learned from various countries where similar accident management processes are in use. The fisheries accident management process outlined may also be useful for other regions, which have similar safety challenges and opportunities for safety improvements in fisheries. These guidelines are intended to apply to a wide range of undesired events, such as accidents involving minor and serious injuries, fatalities, vessel damage, incidents involving damaged equipment and near misses.

The guidelines were discussed and finalized at a Train - the - Trainer workshop on safety at sea for small-scale fishers in the Caribbean, which was attended by 30 professionals on safety at sea and fisheries from seven Caribbean countries and was held in Castries, Saint Lucia in January 2020. The workshop and the development of these guidelines were supported by the FAO-GEF Climate Change Adaptation in the Eastern Caribbean Fisheries Sector (CC4Fish) project and the Norwegian Government funded FAO Trust fund project on Supporting member countries implement climate change adaptation measures in fisheries and aquaculture.

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