Fisheries and Aquaculture
February 4, 2009 

Industry Stakeholders Come Together to Produce Video on Fishing Vessel Safety

Fishing industry and workplace safety stakeholders have come together to produce a video that will promote awareness among fish harvesters on the very important matter of vessel safety. The project, valued at approximately $213,000, is being jointly funded by the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board (PFHCB), the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC), and Memorial University of Newfoundland. The Provincial Government is providing $60,000 in funding for this project through the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program under the Fishing Industry Renewal Strategy. The PFHCB and WHSCC have committed $60,000 each and an in-kind contribution from the university is valued at approximately $33,000.

"When my department carried out fishing vessel safety workshops throughout the province, stakeholders strongly identified the need for a multimedia video resource to create awareness on issues such as vessel safety and stability," said the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. "We know that this is a priority for the industry. Therefore, we are happy to be able to participate in such an important project with our partners in the industry and workplace health and safety. This project provided a means for our government to support an opportunity to address safety in the fish harvesting sector using a new approach."

The project will produce a video that will promote awareness among fish harvesters on a variety of topics related to safety. It will include information on regulatory requirements for vessel operations and approved safety procedures. It will also be designed so that it can be used for individual viewing and employed as an instructional tool for training activities. The project will reinforce a safety culture within the fish harvesting sector with the ultimate goal of reducing injuries and incidents that result in lives lost at sea.

"Professional fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador lead the country in their continued efforts to improve safety in the fishing industry," said Mark Dolomount, Executive Director of the Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board. "In the past six years, more than 10,000 harvesters have completed Marine Emergency Duties (MED) training in this province. On the heels of this success, the video will keep the momentum going and enhance the ability of owners and crew to mitigate the inherent risks that accompany the occupation of commercial fishing."

This project has the potential to reach approximately 12,000 harvesters and will provide quality occupational health and safety information specific to the Newfoundland and Labrador fishing industry, developed by knowledgeable individuals with expertise in this sector.

"The Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission looks forward to participating in this safety initiative," said Ralph Tucker, Chairperson of the WHSCC. "The WHSCC and government, through its response to the most recent statutory review, have committed to collaborate with fishing industry partners to work toward specific objectives of reducing incidents and injuries. The fishing industry is one of the world's most dangerous industries according to the International Maritime Organization. Partnering on this initiative enables the WHSCC to make a valuable contribution to this sector by drawing attention to issues relating to fishing vessel safety and promoting awareness among harvesters of the critical need to address the hazards of this workplace."

Guidance for the project is being provided by a project management committee which includes representation from the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board, the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission, Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation, the Marine Institute and Memorial University of Newfoundland. There are also technical and advisory committees which include the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW), the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Occupational Health and Safety Branch of the Department of Government Services and SafetyNet. The committees will be established to provide input and direction on the project objectives, subject matter, conceptual development, production and effective distribution to industry stakeholders.

The Fishing Industry Renewal Strategy sets out a new path toward a renewed, self-sustaining fishery for Newfoundland and Labrador and fishing industry health and safety is a key component of that strategy. Under this strategy, the Provincial Government has allocated $6 million over three years for research and development projects under the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program.

"The fishing industry continues to be a priority for our government," said Minister Hedderson. "We're very pleased to have this opportunity to work with our industry partners to provide this safety training tool for the industry. We look forward to seeing the completion of this project."

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Media contacts:

Lori Lee Oates
Director of Communications
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
709-729-3733, 690-8403


Kathy Dicks-Peyton
Manager of Communications and Event Planning
Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation
709-778-1566, 689-9279

Jennifer Deon
Communications Coordinator
Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board (PFHCB)


2009 02 04                                                     10:30 a.m.

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