Industry partners from the fishing industry today launched a fisheries safety video, Getting Back Home, to help eliminate fatalities and injuries in this high-risk industry sector.
The video, to be distributed to all fish harvesters in the province, was produced in partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC), the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) and the Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board (PFHCB).
The Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University produced the video in conjunction with Memorial University’s Distance Education and Learning Technologies (DELT).
Industry representatives, consisting of Clyde Jackman, minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture; Ms. Leslie Galway, chief executive officer, Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission; Mr. Bill Broderick, chairperson, Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board; Mr. Robert Verge, managing director, Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation and Mr. Glenn Blackwood, executive director, Marine Institute, emphasized the great importance and value of the new safety video to the fishing industry.
“Over the last few years, my department was delighted to sponsor fishing vessel safety workshops,” said Minister Jackman. “At that time, fish harvesters identified the need for a multimedia video resource to increase awareness of vessel safety and stability issues in the province’s fishing industry. As such my department was pleased to contribute $60,000 toward this video on fishing vessel safety. We understand that these issues must be a priority for the industry and we are pleased to work with our partners toward improved safety in the fishery.”
“The Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation was pleased to play a managing role and help initiate the fisheries vessel safety workshops in 2007 and in the production of the video released here today,” said Mr. Verge, managing director, CCFI. “As part of our new mandate, vessel safety is one of our priority areas, so we will continue to work with the industry in this important area.”
The project aimed to produce a video on safety and seamanship for the fishing industry to promote awareness among fish harvesters of the critical need to adopt safe work practices and maintain a safe work environment.
“As a province with a long marine history, we have become all too familiar with tragedies resulting from activities on our waters,” said Mr. Blackwood, executive director, Marine Institute. “For over 40 years, the Marine Institute has been involved in preparing people for activity on the water. In fact, over the past four years, the Marine Institute has trained thousands of fish harvesters, in over 100 communities across the province in marine emergency training. This reinforces and demonstrates the institute’s commitment to the fishing industry. I have met with fish harvesters who are alive today because of this training.”
The International Maritime Organization has noted that the fishing industry is one of the world’s most dangerous occupations. Accident and fatality statistics from the Newfoundland and Labrador fishing industry add weight to this statement.
Since 2000, Newfoundland and Labrador has averaged more than 60 fishing vessel accidents per year. Of even greater significance is the fact that the industry also experienced 36 fatalities in the same period.
“In the past decade, we have witnessed a vast improvement in safety culture in our fishing industry, with vessels – large and small – being better equipped, and fish harvesters embracing training in record numbers,” said Mr. Broderick, chairperson, Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board. “Most importantly, we are seeing a positive downward trend in fishing vessel incidents and fatalities in Newfoundland and Labrador. By reaching thousands of fish harvesters with this safety video, we can raise safety awareness to a new level, and keep the momentum moving in the right direction.”