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‘Everybody deserves to come home safely’: Commercial seafood industry launches national safety program, Sea Safe

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Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), Media Release, 16 February 2023

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing Australia’s commercial seafood industry, in conjunction with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), have launched Sea Safe, a program designed to improve the culture of safety in the commercial seafood industry, at an event held in Fremantle, Western Australia on February 16.

“The safety and wellbeing of our industry and its people is paramount, and we need to do everything we can to ensure our people and our operations are the safest they can be,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said.

“Sea Safe is a four-year program that has been designed to drive culture improvement and change throughout the sector through a focus on peer-to-peer sharing, learning and ultimately behaviour changes.

“Thanks to funding provided by AMSA and FRDC, Sea Safe is a great example of industry and the government working together to address the critical issue of safety.

“Safety is one of SIA, and the entire commercial seafood industries, top priorities and these sorts of initiatives are vital to keeping our seafood producers safe. No matter the industry, everyone deserves to be safe at work and every family deserves their loved-ones to come home unharmed.”

“At AMSA we are committed to ensuring safe vessel operations, including the safety of all crew in Australian waters,” says AMSA Executive Director of Operations, Michael Drake.

“We are pleased to support Sea Safe. This program complements our aim of working in partnership with the maritime industry to improve safety at sea, and we look forward to seeing the benefits to the safety of commercial fishers around Australia.”

FRDC Managing Director Dr Patrick Hone said ensuring the safety of everyone working in commercial fisheries and aquaculture is of critical importance.

“Working at sea and around water is inherently high risk. Most risks can be managed through education and the use of safe practices. FRDC has invested in fishing and aquaculture safety programs and projects throughout Australia, over many years including FRDC-funded programs such as Sea Safe and FishSafe that have been instrumental in shaping the new Sea Safe program,” Dr Hone said.

“FRDC is proud to extend our commitment to safety through our investment in Sea Safe. We want all people who work and play in, on or near the water, to be safe and go home to their families, so having a national Sea Safe program will help build a safer culture for all our stakeholders.”

“Sea Safe is a vital initiative aimed at ensuring the safety and sustainability of our nation’s commercial seafood industry. The seafood industry is a significant contributor to the Australian economy and provides employment to thousands of Australians. However, it is also a dangerous profession, with many fishers risking their lives every day to provide for their families and our country,” SIA Wellbeing Program Manager Jo Marshall said.

“Up to 50 seafood communities nationally will be involved in the program, with up to 100 Safety Advocates teaming up to collect and share stories, learning and tools to help keep each other coming home safely from work.

“The program has its foundations in peer-to-peer information sharing and learning. This is a program by industry, for industry. It picks up on the great research already done by FRDC and their stakeholders under the National Seafood Safety Initiative along with the work of Sea Safe and Fish Safe, transitioning them into one integrated, national program.

“Throughout the next four years, SIA will continue to develop tools to assist our industry to arrive home safely every time they go to work. The objective of the program is: to achieve a positive change in workplace safety culture to ensure that the Australian Seafood Industry ‘Keeps its People Safe’.”

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