The UK Maritime CoastGuard Agency (UK MCA) began monitoring the country’s commercial fishing industry and compliance with ILO 188, assisted by technological means to monitor the situation.
Specifically, according to Marine Management Organisation’s (MMO) UK Sea Fisheries Statistics 2018, the fishing industry in the UK remains on the seventh spot in the EU; However, UK MCA highlights that commercial fishing is the most dangerous profession, with totally seven lives lost in 2019.
As stated above, UK MCA will monitor the situation using new technology, such as the use of new fixed-wing aircraft with high quality cameras onboard.
Thus, when the aircraft are looking for pollution at sea or helping with search operations, they will also be equipped to observe and report on the operations of fishing vessels which are not complying with UK legislation, for example the wearing of personal flotation devices (PFD) and life jackets on a fishing vessel.
David Fenner, Head of Fishing Safety at the MCA, stated that
Fishing is still the most dangerous profession in the UK today and, whilst we are seeing improvements in safety, tragically there were seven lives lost in the industry last year, all of which could have been prevented. These regulations introduced new requirements for the safety and protection of fishers and powers of enforcement where unsafe practices are observed onboard.
In the meantime, Neil Cunningham, Head of Enforcement at the MCA, added that the biggest challenge to ensure that the requirements of regulations are followed has always been that they are unable to see what actually happens onboard a vessel once it leaves port.
We will be using new resources including two new fixed-wing aircraft… Appropriate and proportionate action will be considered and that may ultimately result in a prosecution.