La sécurité dans le secteur de la pêche

Anyone can drown: no one should - Preventing drowning in fisheries


On 28 April 2021 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 25 July as the World Drowning Prevention Day.

The observance, which was announced through Resolution A/RES/75/723, on Global Drowning Prevention, aims to highlight the tragic and profound impact of drowning on families and communities, offering an opportunity for action on this preventable cause of death.

With over 236 000 deaths yearly, drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths. Over 90% of drowning deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Children and young people represent over half of lives lost.

Commercial fishing, which is considered one of the most dangerous of all professions, is not exempt from the risk: drowning is the main cause of fatalities in the sector, especially among small-scale fishers. Thousands of fishers drown every year: falling overboard being caught under capsized fishing vessels, or being pulled overboard by fishing gears are among the most common causes of drowning.

These fatalities, that have devastating impacts on the fishers families, can be avoided. Safety at sea is key to preventing and reducing them.

  • Wearing life jackets when on board of a fishing vessel
  • Carrying life rings, life floats or life rafts on fishing vessels
  • Introducing floatation for fishing vessels, through buoyancy compartments, to ensure that the vessel becomes unsinkable and could be used as a flotation device.  
  • Improving fishing vessel safety, through better vessel design, stability and seaworthiness tests.
  • Teaching fishers aquatic survival swim skills,  water safety and safe rescue skills
  • Granting access to (and knowledge of) emergency/survival at sea supplies, such as a first aid kit, whistle, flares, mirror, torch and spare water supplies
  • Ensuring fishing vessels are not overloaded
  • Increasing awareness of the dangers of the use of alcohol and drugs

These are just some of the measures fishers and authorities could adopt to prevent and avoid potential safety risks.

Governments and authorities have a primary responsibility in ensuring these measures are adopted while fisherfolks organizations and fishing communities have a crucial role to play in their implementation.

FAO works with governments, safety professionals and partners such as the Bay of Bengal Programme- Inter-governmental Organization (BOBP-IGO) and the FISH Safety Foundation (FSF), to improve safety at sea for small-scale fishers in South Asia and in the Caribbean and Pacific islands.

For more information on the World Drowning Prevention Day 2021, please visit: