Session 6B – Regional Approaches to Fishing Safety 2

Tuesday, June 12, 10:45am–12:15pm, Arts and Administration Building, Room A1046

6B.1  Practical and strategic gender needs in tuna fisheries in the Philippines: Focus on women’s occupational and health hazardsMarieta Bañez Sumagaysay, University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College and National Research Council of the Philippines, DOST

The 2017 gender analysis of the tuna fisheries value chain in General Santos City, Philippines showed that gender differentials exist and these impact heavily on women who are marginalized in a male-dominated fishing industry. Traditional gender roles and a patriarchal society’s expectations/beliefs make women vulnerable to occupational and health hazards which further lessen their productivity and efficiency, diminish their capacity to earn, and reduce their self-esteem as a woman and as man’s co-worker.

Data were gathered from focus group discussions, key informant interviews, surveys, and secondary sources from three sectors: municipal small-scale fisheries, large-scale (purse seine and handline) fisheries, and tuna value-added processors. The researchers used gender tools/principles and the USAID six domains of gender analysis, i.e., access to assets, beliefs/knowledge, practices/participation, time and space, legal rights/status, and power/decision making.

Practical gender needs (PGNs) include women’s vulnerability to sexual harassment in the workplace, absence of gender-responsive facilities, inadequate social security/insurance, and poor working conditions such as long hours of standing, night shifts, lack of protective gears/clothing, poor ventilation. The strategic gender needs (SGNs) include the lack of women-friendly equipment/fishing paraphernalia that limit women’s work participation, just as it poses as occupational and safety hazards to women. Addressing PGNs can improve women’s quality of life in terms of health care, protection, and safety, while addressing SGNs can minimize her subordinate status.

Men have PGNs and SGNs, too, but these are generally ignored and muted because society dictates that men are physically strong, and have been prepared to take dominant/manly roles regardless of the hazards it may take.

The study recommends that policy making and program development should embrace a gender lens at all value chain nodes. Policy measures, research initiatives, and action interventions cannot be gender-blind if fisheries have to be inclusive by taking care of women partners in the industry.

6B.2  Assessment of Occupational Hazards and Usage of Sea Safety Devices by fishers of Kerala, India – Arpita Sharma and Sethulakshmi C.S., Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (Deemed University), Mumbai, India (Presentation slides).

Kerala is a maritime state on the west coast of peninsular India. The coast of Kerala constitutes approximately 10% of India’s total coastline and fisheries sector is considered as one of the important productive sectors. Kerala’s share in the national marine fish production is about 20%. For more than 8,00,000 marine fishers; fisheries is the only source of livelihood. Total registered fishing fleet in the state consists of about 23,129 motorized crafts, 2,986 mechanized and 1,673 non-motorized crafts. Development and management programs are implemented by the State Department of Fisheries (DoF). One of the focuses of DoF is ensuring safe fishing. Regulations for use of Sea Safety Devices (SSDs) are in place through different policies and acts like Merchant Shipping Act, Kerala Marine Fishing Policy, and Kerala Marine Fishing Regulation Act. There are few studies which report about use of SSDs, but comprehensive studies on this subject are few. This study was done with the objectives of assessing Occupational Hazards (OH) faced by fishers and usage of SSDs in six coastal districts of Kerala. Information was collected from 180 mechanized, motorized and traditional boat owners by using interview schedule. Study revealed that Capsizing, Sinking, Grounding, Burning, Collision, Mishaps, Man overboard and injuries were common OH. Fishers were unable to receive immediate medical care, many of them affected with OH were unable to avail benefits of insurance and they reported that medical expenditures were high. SSDs used were Life Buoy, Life Jacket, First Aid Kit, Emergency Ration, Fire Extinguisher, Fire Bucket, Global Positioning System, Magnetic Compass, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, Sonar, Echo sounder, Oil Lamp, Signaling Torch and Batteries. With reference to use of SSDs, mechanized fishers had high knowledge and used major of these. Fishers with motorized boats had adequate knowledge about SSDs, but few used these. Traditional and small scale fishers did not use most SSDs. Reasons for not using SSDs were lack of space in vessels, high price, low durability, lack of training, over confidence, priority of cost over safety and attitude. Non parametric Kruskal Wallis statistical test revealed significant difference as regards to usage of SSDs by mechanized, motorized and traditional fishers indicating that at least one sample stochastically dominated other sample. It is clear from the study that regulatory mechanisms are in place and inspection of SSDs by the officials is conducted. But there are gaps and use of SSDs is not at a level as it should be. The study suggests shifts in regulatory mechanisms and fishery governance. Constraints faced by fishers regarding usage of SSDs are to be looked into and participatory mechanisms by involving fisher groups in decision making and governance are suggested. Taking advantages from the Centrally and State Sponsored Schemes such as Safety of Fishermen at Sea and the Kerala State Insurance Scheme, Matsya Suraksha, Group Insurance Scheme for Fishermen; better mechanisms can be built. Encouragement on use of SSDs willingly by fishers by adopting innovative methods is suggested so as to have better occupational safety for all fishers.

6B.3  Safety conditions on smaller vessels in the Norwegian fishing fleetHalvord Aasjord and Ingunn Marie Holmen SINTEF Ocean (Presentation Slides).

Background: The smaller coastal fishing fleet are the most risky with respect to fatal accidents. Accidents data over long periods like a 28 year period from 1990 – 2017,  where so far 67 % of all fatal accidents are related to fishing vessels, length; Loa < 15 meter. Of these fatal losses, 62 % were fishers on so-called one-man boats. That gives 42 % of all fatal accidents in the Norwegian fishing fleet happens on board on one-man boats.

Main causes of fatal accidents on smaller vessels:

  • Vessel casualty incl. capsizing
  • Overboard accidents – drowning
  • Harbour accidents – drowning
  • Stroke and crush in fishing operations

Statistics of fatal accidents for the smaller fishing fleet are presented for 5-year periods.

There has been a decrease in number of fishing boats in the smaller length groups, Loa < 15 meters and quota are often transferred from the smaller length groups to larger length groups.

That means that many fishermen, especially older ones, have sold out their quotas from group I and ends up to fish their quota in group II, then mostly as an one-man fishermen. This seems to give much higher risky operations in respect to fatal accidents.

Then the Norwegian Maritime Authorities (NMA) have now introduced full safety standard and periodic control for all the smaller fishing fleet from 8.0 to 15 meter. Consequences will be that many older vessels still in operation will get same safety control than newer vessels and many of them will therefore be phased out of “The register of fishing vessels”. This because the owners find it too expensive upgrade his vessel to a higher standard.

The next step is the introduction of safety management also on smaller fishing vessels, and this regulation was implemented by NMA on 1 January 2017. In 2018 the NMA will focus on safety management on smaller vessels, with an emphasis on operational issues. Lacking procedures for operations and weaknesses in organizational, leadership and communication issues are often a factor in vessel accidents. The expected safety effect and any other outcomes of these new safety regulations will be discussed in this presentation, not least from the users’ point of view.


Aasjord HL, Holmen IM, Thorvaldsen T (2012). Occupational accidents and causalities in the Norwegian fishing fleet (In Norwegian). SINTEF report A23369. ISBN 978-82-14-05451-4.

McGuinness E, Aasjord HL, Utne IB, Holmen IM (2013b). Fatalities in the Norwegian Fishing Fleet 1990-2011. Safety Science 57: 335-351.

Aasjord, HL, Enerhaug, B. (2013). Stability and stability margins on smaller fishing vessels. (In Norwegian). SINTEF-report A24663, ISBN 978-82-14-05638-9.

Aasjord, H L., Holmen, IM. (2016): Fisherman on small fishing vessels lives a very risky life. (In Norwegian).Ramazzini (Norwegian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine). Year 23. 2016 – No. 1.

NMA (2017). Documents included in the control scheme for fishing vessels below 15 meters:

6B.4  Dehydration in New Zealand fishing vessel crewsMarion Edwin, Optimise Ltd.; Dave Moore, AUT University, New Zealand; Darren Guard, Guard Safety (Presentation slides).

High musculoskeletal injury rates in crew on large (>28 m) New Zealand fishing vessels lead to an exploratory investigation of ergonomics risk factors. Initial findings indicated that hypo-hydration appeared to be both significant and common, and was of concern as crew work rotating shifts for up to 6 week periods.

Review of the international (English language) literature reveals that no hydration evaluation specific to crew on fishing vessels has been published to date. Dehydration research has however occurred in forestry, mining and manual labour industries with knowledge that can be applied to the maritime work environment. This includes an understanding of the problems that may develop in relation to dehydration, and relevant research and intervention methodologies. Further, the health effects of consuming the desalinated water that is typically provided on large fishing vessels appears to be little understood by fishing operators.

This paper describes the hydration findings of an exploratory ergonomics assessment of crew on NZ fishing vessels, and reviews the relevant literature.

Practitioner Summary: Dehydration impacts on physical and cognitive aspects of worker performance and long term health. Hypo-hydration of crew on working fishing vessels may lead to performance decrements and productivity losses. Assessing hydration of crew on-vessel poses some challenges to researchers but offers a powerful learning environment for participating crew members.

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