As lobster season gets underway in southwest Nova Scotia Friday, Nov. 28, fishermen are reminded to practice safety and monitor weather and marine forecasts while at sea.
“Fishing is dangerous work, and it’s important that we all — employers, captains and crew — do everything we can to be safe, said Richard “Bee” d’Entremont of Lower West Pubnico, president of Acadian Fish Processors Limited and a representative of the Safe at Sea Alliance.
“Make sure your vessel has essential life-saving equipment aboard and that it’s in working order, wear a personal flotation device at all times while on deck, and be prepared so that everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency or a man-overboard situation.”
Industry and fishing safety advocates, government, the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council join Mr. d’Entremont in urging fishermen to stay safe.
“Fishing is a proud and vibrant industry, vital to Nova Scotia’s culture,” said Kelly Regan, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. “It’s also an industry that has seen too much tragedy. We are encouraged by the positive shift that we’re seeing from many in the industry. In fact, the decision to delay the start of the season speaks volumes of the priority they place on safety.
Industry delayed opening the fishery on Nov. 24 because of poor weather.
Since early this year, fishing safety partners have been working with industry representatives to create the Safe at Sea Alliance and have been talking to fishermen, their families and other community members from across the province about fishing safety. Input gathered will be used by the Safe at Sea Alliance to develop a Fishing Safety Action Plan that will help shape the future of fishing in Nova Scotia.
“We’re encouraged by the way many industry representatives have come together over the past year to form the Safe at Sea Alliance and truly engage in this important conversation about fishing safety,” said Stuart MacLean, CEO, Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia.
Fishing safety is also a key part of Nova Scotia’s Workplace Safety Strategy and the Commercial Fishing Strategy.
“Fishing generates thousands of high-paid jobs in the province, but it is physically demanding and sometimes dangerous work,” said Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell. “We encourage captains and crew to wear life vests and be conscious of their environment to ensure all return home safely.”
To learn more about the province’s Workplace Safety Strategy, visit http://novascotia.ca/lae/documents/WorkplaceSafetyStrategy.pdf .
To learn more about the Safe at Sea Alliance and the Fishing Safety Action Plan, go to www.safeatseans.ca .