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Improving safety for fishermen through Fishsafe

12th May 2006

Fishermen improving safety for fishermen through FISHSAFE

“We’d like to make accidents and injuries a thing of the past,” says FISHSAFE Chairman Pete Dawson about the comprehensive, ‘best practice’ safety guidelines for small commercial fishing vessels. The guidelines were launched today by Minister for Transport Safety Hon. Harry Duynhoven at the Federation of Commercial Fisherman Conference in New Plymouth.

The guidelines and accompanying training were based on practical experience and hard-earned knowledge from past accidents and incidents and developed by FISHSAFE, a fishing industry led, industry/government partnership, set up to improve the safety performance of the New Zealand commercial fishing sector.

“Government working with industry will ensure that the guidelines are effectively utilised,” the Minister said.

“This shared experience will, I believe, also assist both Maritime New Zealand and the fishing industry in working more closely together in the future,” said the Minister.

Mr Dawson, a fishing industry leader and long-time fisherman, said that the guidelines were developed by the seafood industry and Maritime New Zealand working together with the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).

“Being involved in the development process has resulted in guidelines that are relevant to fisherman and will work for us. We’ve wanted them, we’ve worked for them and now we will use them. We are proud to have been involved in their development,” said Mr Dawson.

“Maritime New Zealand and ACC have been fantastic to work with and we’ve really been on the same page with this. We all want the same thing – safer fishing practices – and their support is very, very positive.

“The FISHSAFE guidelines are about us (fishermen), for us and demonstrates how we are willing to go further than we are required by law – we take our responsibilities, and in this case people’s lives, very seriously.”

To complement the guidelines and training, FISHSAFE has developed an accompanying mentor programme throughout New Zealand. The objective of the FISHSAFE mentors is to assist fishermen to implement the guidelines and associated training, ensuring the successful implementation of the safety guidelines. FISHSAFE mentors are located in fishing ports around the country to be a local point of contact for fishermen in their area.

The guidelines are accompanied with associated injury prevention training for fishermen and an ACC levy discount scheme, which gives fishermen that complete the training, the opportunity to apply for a 10 percent reduction in their ACC levy.

The Minister and commercial fishermen were treated to a first-hand look at the guidelines in practice on a vessel in the Port of New Plymouth following the launch.

ENDS

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