Government focus on working fishermen’s safety welcomed by Seafarers UK

July 6, 2018

DEFRA’s White Paper ‘Sustainable fisheries for future generations’ – presented to Parliament earlier this week – includes a number of references to safety, a vital topic that was highlighted in Seafarers UK’s recently published ‘Fishing for a Future’ research report.

With the UK Government’s inaugural ‘Maritime Safety Week’ running from 9-13 July, it is encouraging to note that increased emphasis is to be placed on the safety of our commercial fishermen.

In ‘Sustainable fisheries for future generations’ the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs states:

‘We know…that fishing remains one of the most dangerous occupations and that some of the unintended consequences of action can result in implications for fisherman’s safety. We therefore intend to consider safety throughout the policy development and implementation process for new management systems, practices and technology.

‘We want a diverse fishing fleet using efficient, modern technology…and best practice to help it fish sustainably and safely.’

‘Experience has shown that in developing fisheries management policy, there can be unintended consequences. We therefore will need to proceed carefully, considering the best available evidence, safety implications and will work closely with industry and interested parties.’

Seafarers UK Trustee Robert Greenwood, Safety & Training Officer at the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, said: ‘It is encouraging to see that as the UK has opportunities, not just afforded by its future as an independent coastal state, but also by the upcoming implementation of the Work in Fishing Convention ILO C188, that the Government has listened to our case for putting the safety of our fishing crews into the White Paper along with the viability of fishing stocks.’

‘The UK has a once in a lifetime chance to have a healthier, safer and more prosperous industry which will be a leading light for the rest of the world to follow.’

Seafarers UK’s ‘Fishing for a Future’ report is available to download here:

DEFRA has invited responses to the White Paper via the following link:

Feedback can also be sent by email to or by post to:

Fisheries White Paper Consultation Team
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
First Floor, Seacole Block
2 Marsham Street