Fishing at sea is probably the most dangerous occupation in the world. In 2009 it was estimated that 24,000 fishermen die every year, but the number are surely higher. I spend most of my life working with fellow fisherman, and I learned a lot from all of them, be this post a sign of my gratefulness and respect to them.
FAO estimates that roughly 30 million fishers are working aboard 4 million fishing vessels operating in capture fisheries, 1.3 million decked and 2.7 million undecked vessels. About 98% of these vessels are below 24 metres in length, and not covered adequately by international rules and regulations. It seems plausible that the fatality rate in countries for which information is not available might be higher than those that supply statistical information. Thus, the number of global fatalities might be considerably higher than the figure of 24 000 deaths world-wide per year estimated by ILO.
Billions of people are depending on the scarce marine resources, they are depending on the fishermen and the fish that they bring home. A lost vessel and a lost fisherman have a vital impact on the coastal community.
Excessive fishing effort; increased competition; reduced profitability; economies in vessel maintenance, equipment and manpower; fatigue; recklessness; fisheries management measures (which do not take sufficient account of the human element or fishermen safety into consideration); diversified fishing operations unaccompanied by training, traditional experience and skills; these are some of the factors which have resulted in fishing being the most dangerous occupation in the world.
The consequences of loss of life fall heavily on the dependents. In developing countries, these consequences can be devastating: widows have a low social standing, there is no welfare state to support the family and with lack of alternative sources of income, the widow and children may face destitution.
Many developing countries face the need to design and implement a system to manage their fisheries and may look for external advice and aid to further their goals.
There are a number of areas where improvements can be made at the national level to improve safety for fishermen, provision and analysis of data identifying the cause of accident; education and training of trainers, extensionists, fishermen and inspectors; improved fisheries management, safety regulation and enforcement; develop safety guidelines, increased collaboration between fishermen, fishermen's organisations and government.
But critically, the fishermen and the people in the fishing villages have to be part of the safety for fishermen initiatives, it is important to have a participatory approach, to reach out to the fishermen with the message. The involvement and commitment by local communities are vital for the success of the work... No fisherman would believe anything form a guy that does not looks like it has been at sea many times.