Funded life-jackets on order for Plymouth’s fishing industry

Fishing boat crews who live and work in Plymouth will be safer at sea, thanks to a project designed by Plymouth City Council with support from local fishing industry.

The Council has been awarded £77,000 from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Maritime Management Organisation for the scheme to help reduce loss of life and accidents within the local fishing industry.

A total 250 life-jackets with in-built locator beacons have now been ordered as part of the two-year project which aims to encourage behaviour change through training and new equipment. Delivery is expected in November and December and the life jackets will then be distributed to eligible fishermen by Marine Co, who are supplying the equipment.

The project, which has been designed with input from fishermen’s representatives, SEAFISH and the emergency services, hopes to create a more coordinated community approach to training and equipment to reduce the number of fishermen’s lives lost at sea.

Last September following a Motion on Notice at Full Council, the Council applied to the Marine Management Organisation for funding through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to fund the purchase of ‘personal flotation devices’ equipped with personal locator beacons.

Council leader Ian Bowyer said: “Fishing is an incredibly important industry for this city but as an industry there are too many lives lost.

“The fishing industry brings over £12 million to Plymouth each year, and accounts for around 15 per cent of the entire English fishing fleet.

“This project has significant cross-party support from our councillors and MPs as well as the Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authorities, RNLI, Maritime Coastguard Agency and importantly, the fishermen and their families. It will not only benefit the fishermen, their families and the community, but will contribute to reducing costs to the RNLI and the emergency services.”

The project includes training, personal fitting and training carried out by a supplier with a unique understanding of the fishing industry, fishing grounds and the operations of emergency services.

The criteria of who is eligible is on the council website

The scheme is open only to commercial fishermen who live or land in Plymouth (other criteria will be applied if the scheme is oversubscribed).

Expression of interest forms will be available at Plymouth Trawler Agents at the Fish Market in Sutton Harbour and the MarineCo office in Saltash.

Contact Jane Hunt, senior economic development officer at Plymouth City Council on 01752 398048.