Fishermen without safety gear to be fined
Friday, October 12, 2018
by GIS

In order to preserve the lives of fishermen at sea, the Department of Fisheries has implemented measures to encourage fishermen to carry appropriate the safety gear.

Fisheries Extension Officer for Laborie, Vieux Fort, and Savannes Bay, Hardin Jn. Pierre, explained that some fishermen do not make regular use of safety equipment.

“We encourage fishers to go out with their safety gear,” he stressed. “At the time of inspection the fishermen usually have all that is required but some do not go out to sea with the gear. So we encourage fishers to go out with their safety equipment because they never know when the day will come when they need it.”

The marine police has also been alerted to direct fishermen without the appropriate safety equipment back to the shore.

“We support and encourage these practices,” said Mr. Jn. Pierre, adding that “fishers can also be fined for not having the appropriate gear and equipment.” While the decision to uphold fines may be severe, Mr. Jn. Pierre said the preservation of lives is paramount.

“Ideally, we wouldn’t want to rub salt in the wound, but vessels found without safety equipment should be fined, because rescue workers risk their lives to save vessels that are in emergency situations, at times due to a lack of safety precautions,” he said. “Those safety precautions are also beneficial to the fisher because it helps safeguard his investment.”

Fisherman, Devon Stephen who is also the President of the Choiseul Fishermen’s Cooperative Society cautioned fishermen to be prepared for random searches.

“It was recently stated at a meeting that there will be random searches on vessels, and that fishers without the appropriate gear and equipment can be assessed and fined, or his license can be revoked.”

For those who are unaware how to use the required safety gear, Daniel Medard, the Fisheries Extension Officer for Castries and Banannes Bay, reminded fishermen of the ongoing SOLAS project.

“There is a Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) project, where extension officers offer training to fishermen on the general use of the equipment, when to use it and how to use it effectively,” he said. “We want to remind the fishers that if they have any difficulty with using the safety gear, that they can always contact the extension officers who are readily able to train them so that their lives are protected while at sea.”

Several fishermen’s groups have already undergone training with the police marine unit on various safety practices.

The vessel inspection period begins in April, and continues throughout the year.