From today (23 October), new codes of practice have been introduced to improve safety for everyone in the fishing industry

Three new codes of practice come into force today (23 October) to try and increase the safety of those who work in the UK’s fishing industry.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said each code has been designed to “improve safety through the introduction of new safety requirements, adopting technological developments and addressing recommendations from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch”.

They include holding monthly emergency drills, liferafts for specific vessels, the fitting of radar reflectors and bilge alarms, as well as the fitting of carbon monoxide monitors, EPIRBs and personal locator beacons with built-in GPS.

The new requirements are being phased in for owners of existing fishing boats, who have until 23 October 2019 to comply with the new codes.

David Fenner from the MCA said the agency has “worked hard with all those connected with the fishing industry on these codes”.

“This is all about reducing the risk of serious accidents and deaths. Even one death is one too many,” he stressed.

“The new requirements for liferafts, EPIRBs and Personal Locator Beacons are being phased in so if your vessel is already registered as a fishing vessel, you will have until 23 October 2019 to comply. This will allow you to apply for funding from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to claim back up to 60% of the cost,” explained Fenner.

“However, vessels registering as fishing vessels for the first time, or re-registering after an absence of six months or more, on or after 23 October this year, must comply with all the requirements of the code immediately,” he stated.

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The new codes have been developed with the help of the Fishing Industry Safety group, which includes The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, the Shipbuilders and Shiprepairers Association, the Fishermen’s Mission and Seafish, which represents the UK’s seafood industry.

Derek Cardno from Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) said: “Industry has welcomed the opportunity to be involved in the new fishing codes. Although the new codes will provide challenges for some fishermen to be compliant, the safety of the industry will improve.”

Robert Greenwood from National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) added: “By listening and working with the industry the MCA have developed the new codes in a practical and meaningful way. We hope this will lead not only to more people surviving accidents but also, and more importantly, to far fewer accidents too.”