Fishing Safety


Photo credit: ©FAO/ Iris Monnereau

Building resilience in the fisheries sector is often referred to in the context of climate change adaptation or emergencies and disaster risk management (DRM).

In most strategies, plans and policies that aim to increase resilience in the fisheries sector and particularly contribute to resilient fishing communities’ safety measures are incorporated. The mainstreaming of fishing safety in National Adaptation Plans and fisheries sector climate change adaptation plans and coastal resilience programmes is important for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Climate change is affecting the seawater temperatures and distribution of fisheries resources. Some fish stocks might move beyond the limited reach of small-scale fishing fleets. Fishers have to operate further offshore to maintain catch rates, which will have implications for their incomes and safety.
  • Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of storms in many regions. Fishers progressively have to be able to deal with rough weather conditions and high waves and swells at sea.
  • Coastal fishing communities are often prone to natural disasters, such as tropical storms, hurricanes, cyclones and floods. The safety of fishing vessels, fish landing sites, fishing ports and related infrastructures is immediately affected by natural disasters. Moreover, they have a significant impact on the livelihoods of fishers and their families.

Common fishing safety-related measures included in adaptation and resilience plans and projects are:

  • Fishing vessel design improvements.
  • Vessel stability improvements.
  • Fisheries management measures, such as installing safety-training certification of the crew as prerequisite for fishing licenses, or annual safety equipment checks.
  • Awareness-raising on safety at sea and creating a safety culture among fishers.
  • Development and implementation of formal capacity building and training programmes on safety at sea for fishers.
  • Introduction of safety equipment requirements for fishing vessels.
  • Legislative and policy framework improvements, such as inclusion of safety regulations in fisheries and attention to safety and decent work in fisheries in sectoral policies and strategies.
  • Promotion of insurance services for fishing vessels and fishers.
  • Upgrade of the Search and rescue services.
  • Introduction of ICT tools for fishers that support communication, provide early warning services and maritime safety information.
  • Strengthening collaboration between institutions responsible for safety, DRM, fisheries and health to provide a coherent safety-promoting institutional framework.
  • Fisheries infrastructure improvement, such as investments in more resilient harbour defenses, slipways and cranes to haul vessels out of the water, reinforcement of fish processing and market buildings at fish landing sites and ports.