Coastal Fisheries Programme
Number 5 - May 2009


Group Co-ordinator and Bulletin Editor: Steve Beverly, Fisheries Development Officer (SPC).

Prepared by the Nearshore Fisheries Development and Information Sections of the Marine Resources Division and printed with financial assistance from France.


SPC tested a new beacon from Argos, the MAR GE/T

Another year has gone by since the last Sea Safety Bulletin was distributed. Readers may remember in the last issue that we borrowed a few things from friends around the Pacific. In this issue we also depend heavily on the inspiration and guidance of others. In other words, we have once again borrowed relevant and timely material on sea safety from our friends and neighbours – from as far away as Italy and Alaska to our closest neighbours, Australia and New Zealand. Thank you to all who provided materials to us. The first Safety Feature in this issue, which discusses the risks of fishing boats colliding with large trading ships, comes from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, and although it is aimed at Australian fishermen, the information and guidelines are relevant to anyone who goes to sea, whether in a fishing boat or a pleasure boat. The risk of being run down by a tanker or container ship is real, especially for small boats that operate in shipping lanes during times of reduced visibility. The second Safety Feature introduces our Alaskan friends at AMSEA, or Alaska Marine Safety Education Association, who have kindly allowed us to reproduce their Risk Assessment for Commercial Fishing Trips checklist. This checklist gives fishermen an easy way to assess the risks of going to sea BEFORE the boat leaves the dock. If the risk number from the assessment is too high (a score of 24-35) then things have to be fixed or the boat doesn’t go to sea. Under Technology and Safety we offer something new – the ArgoNet small boat monitoring system that tracks small-scale fishing boats and can give out a request for assistance signal; something improved – the ACR iPro EPIRB that has a digital display so users are reassured of their GPS position; and something that been around for a long time but could always be refreshed – Liferafts and their release mechanisms (from Maritime New Zealand and Royal National Lifeboat Institution).

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) held an expert consultation on best practices for sea safety in 2008, which we report on under Resource Materials- New International Instruments on the Horizon. Included in this section are discussions on an International Plan of Action (IPOA) for sea safety, and a new website called Safety for Fishermen, that has been launched by FAO in April 2009. Despite everyone’s best efforts Accidents and Incidents, sadly, continue to happen. We have included a small number of these just as food for thought. Hopefully, lessons can be learned from the mishaps of others. Finally, in News from the Region, we share what has been taking place in New Caledonia to make boating and fishing safer for everyone. New regulations have been implemented by the Maritime Affairs Department and surprise inspections have been carried out in the lagoon surrounding New Caledonia to make sure that boaters, including fishermen, are complying. I’ll sign off by saying thanks once again to all who shared their valuable sea safety information and stories.

Steve Beverly



  • Fisherman and safety awareness at sea
  • SPC’s Nearshore Fisheries Development & Training Section tests new Argos portable beacon for small fishing boats
  • Transmitter MAR-GE/T
  • Tales inspire EPIRB
  • Liferafts and their release mechanisms
  • The FAO Expert Consultation on best practices for safety at sea
  • Fishing safely
  • Safety for Fishermen web community
  • When great isn’t good enough
  • Fishermen in miracle rescue named
  • Noted fishermen lost as 80-foottrawler sinks
  • Rescue at sea
  • New regulations and public awareness campaign in New Caledonia

Download the complete publication:

Sea Safety #5 (pdf: )



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