The head of the coastguard is to meet a leading fishermen’s organisation in Northern Ireland today to discuss ways to improve safety at sea.
Chief executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Sir Alan Massey is meeting the Fishermen’s Mission charity in Kilkeel to examine how they can work together on the issue.
Sir Alan said he wanted to foster a culture where wearing a life jacket was the norm.
The agency has highlighted that 26 fishermen who died between 2007 and 2011 in UK waters may have survived if they had been wearing a life jacket.
The MCA chairs the Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG), which is made up of representatives from fishing fleets and other associated bodies.
Sir Alan said everyone in the group was keen to nurture improvements in the safety of commercial fishing vessel operations.
“In particular, we want to encourage a culture where it becomes normal practice for all fishermen to wear a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) when out at sea,” he said.
“The mission’s excellent and unstinting work in support of fishermen and their families is integral to our collective efforts.”
David Dickens, chief executive of the Fishermen’s Mission, will meet Sir Alan at the Co Down harbour.
“All too often the mission staff has to deal with the devastating aftermath of death or serious injury of fishermen at sea,” said Mr Dickens.
“The mission is keen to engage with all agencies and organisations that seek to reduce the number and severity of incidents in fishing and a positive engagement with the MCA is both natural and essential in bringing the safety message to all involved in the industry.”