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Commercial Fishing



New funding scheme for fishermen’s life saving safety equipment across the UK. Vessel owners can claim back £200 per item towards the cost of buying PFDs/PLBs for their crew.

Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, is pleased to announce the launch of a new funding scheme which aims to improve safety in the fishing industry. This new scheme will support owners of UK-registered commercial fishing vessels with the cost of purchasing Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) fitted with integrated Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) for their crew.

PFDs are an essential piece of safety equipment for skippers and crew working on fishing vessels and PLBs have been shown to significantly improve the chances of fishermen being found if an accident results in them going overboard.

Having and wearing PFDs on board fishing vessels is now a requirement in the UK following the implementation the Work in Fishing Convention (ILO C188) and the publication of Marine Guidance Notice 588 last year. The new regulations establish that owners of UK-registered commercial fishing vessels are responsible for the health and safety of everyone working onboard. Failure to ensure the provision and wearing of PFDs by fishermen working where there is a risk of falling overboard is considered a breach of health and safety legislation by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

The new funding scheme, which is being delivered by Seafish in co-operation with the MCA and Trinity House, is open to owners who have not previously received support to purchase PLBs. It allows them to claim £200 for each PFD/PLB purchased – potentially covering up to 50% of the cost of this life-saving equipment.

The financial backing for the scheme is being provided from the UK government’s new £1m fund to improve safety in the fishing industry, which was announced by Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani at the Department for Transport in July 2019.

Simon Potten, Head of Safety and Training at Seafish, said: “Fishing remains the most dangerous peace time occupation in the UK, so initiatives which improve safety on board vessels are very welcome. Previously support has only been available locally/regionally, so it’s fantastic that this funding is available to fishermen all across the UK and we’re delighted to be administering it.

“The provision and wearing of PFDs is now a requirement, but the addition of an integrated locator beacon significantly increases the chances of recovery. This equipment is expensive so I am sure this scheme will be welcomed by vessel owners. I’d encourage anyone interested to get in touch now so they can take advantage of this support while it’s available.”

The scheme is open for applications now. The final deadline for applications is 31 March 2020, however funding is limited and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

For further details and information on how to apply:

• Visit https://seafish.org/article/funding-for-pfds-with-plbs
• Contact the Project Administrator on 01472 252 302 or training@seafish.co.uk.