These figures provided the background to talks at the Fifth International Fishing Industry Safety & Health Conference (iFish5), on 10–13 June, in St. John’s, Canada, IMO informed.

IMO’s Sandra Allnutt outlined IMO’s work to address fishing vessel safety. She emphasised the need for more countries to ratify the 2012 Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety.

The Cape Town Agreement includes mandatory international requirements for stability, construction and associated seaworthiness of fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and over, as well as requirements for life-saving appliances, communications equipment and fire protection.

Ms Allnutt also outlined guidance and recommendatory measures developed by ILO in cooperation with FAO and the ILO, including the Code of Safety for Fishermen and Fishing Vessels, 2005 (part A for all fishing vessels, Part B for those 24 m in length and over); Voluntary Guidelines, 2005, (fishing vessels 12 m in length and over, but less than 24 m); and Safety Recommendations (for fishing vessels less than 12 m in length).

The conference was told that the approximately 1.6 million seafarers in the world merchant vessel fleet have much better protection from mandatory international safety and health conventions and agreements than the approximately 40 million fishers world-wide.

The event was co-organized by the Memorial University, Canada; the United Nations; the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH); and the FAO.