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Educational workshops for boat fishermen being held in Niue

Keeping lifejackets in seaworthy condition is one focus of workshops being held for fishers in Niue this week.

The workshops are being delivered by New Zealand’s Pacific Maritime Safety Programme (PMSP), which is a New Zealand Aid-funded programme, administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and delivered by Maritime NZ.

These workshops mark the second time the PMSP has delivered community education in Niue, and the first time the programme has targeted small boat or “tinny” fishers.

Traditional canoe fishers were the focus of similar workshops held in May.

PMSP Manager David Billington said the boat safety workshops cover a range of safety-related topics, including a practical session on lifejacket servicing. Attendees have been offered the opportunity to purchase grab bags of emergency equipment at subsidised rates.

The workshops are being hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Niue, supported by the Niue Island Fishing Association.

“Since the community education programme launched in Niue last year, we have seen increased use of lifejackets, which is really positive,” Mr Billington said.

“While continuing to promote lifejackets as a key life saving device, we want to ensure people in Niue also know how to service them and keep them in good condition.”

Mr Billington said the PMSP team would take the opportunity to look at how different types of lifejackets responded to the Niue climate and environment, with a particular focus on gas cannisters and inflating mechanisms.

“We promote inflatable lifejackets as they are comfortable to wear and there are some excellent products on the market with high buoyancy standards.

“But we are interested in how these jackets stand up to the Pacific climate – as part of the workshop we’ll be looking at whether the life cycles of these items are affected by the humidity.”

“Fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world and while Niue has a good safety record in terms of fatalities, any fisher you talk to here will be able to tell you a near miss story,” said Mr Billington.

“We want to help shift the safety culture to one where people always come home safely.”

* The workshops are being held on Tuesday 9 and Wednesday 10 October – please note Niue is one day behind New Zealand.

ENDS

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