Safety in the fishing industry: providing insight into a global safety challenge.

Lloyd's Register Foundation, a charity helping to protect the safety of life and property by supporting education, research and public engagement, today announces the launch of its Insight Report on safety in the fishing industry.

Fishing is one of the world's most dangerous occupations. For nearly 20 years the estimate of 24,000 fatalities per year has been referred to in conference publications, industry guidelines, and other documents. This fatality figure is often described as an underestimate, due to inaccurate reporting in the developing world. Most of the world’s 3.8 million fishing vessels and 36 million full and part-time fishers operate from Asia, and many of the deaths occur in that region. Lloyd's Register Foundation identified fishing as a safety challenge in its Insight Report on global safety challenges in 2017. Since then the Foundation has investigated further to better understand the nature of the safety challenges facing the fishing industry. The Foundation has drawn on expert knowledge and opinion to understand what activity is already underway to improve fishing safety, what is further needed, and to explore if there is a unique role for the Foundation in line with its charitable mission. The investigation has focused on establishing:

  • the countries or locations where the most fatalities occur;
  • the predominant causes of accidents in these countries; and
  • the practical measure(s) which could save the most lives.

This report recommends both the continuation of the fishing expert network created to inform this report and the establishment of an international programme focused on local community partnerships, to improve safety in ways that are appropriate for local communities. An initial pilot programme in the Philippines is proposed. A phased approach is suggested with a key element being local community buy-in. The phases are:

  1. research to establish current fisher numbers and fatality rates, accident causes and risk, and an evaluation of existing and potential initiatives;
  2. multi-stakeholder training (regulators, public, fishers) informed from research; and
  3. application of technology, appropriate to local capability and culture, informed from research.

Announcing the report at the fifth International Fishing Industry Safety & Health conference (IFISH5), Dr Daryl Attwood, the report's author, said "We consulted with a wide range of safety professionals and researchers to inform our report. Much needs to be done to improve safety in this dangerous industry. The countries experiencing the most fatalities and needing the most help are in Asia, which is why the Foundation, with its existing network and future partners, will maximise impact by directing its initial attention there."

Professor Richard Clegg, Chief Executive of the Lloyd's Register Foundation, said "This insight report makes a valuable contribution to understanding the safety challenges in the fishing industry. It takes a closer look at where accidents are occurring, why they happen and what steps the Foundation can take to reduce the lives lost in this global industry… because life matters."

For more information, contact info@lrfoundation.org.uk.

Download the Insight Report on safety in the fishing industry.