Aussie seafood sector launches safety program, Sea Safe

Friday, 24 February, 2023

Aussie seafood sector launches safety program, Sea Safe

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), in conjunction with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), has launched Sea Safe, a program designed to improve the culture of safety in the commercial seafood industry. 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.

“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. 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. 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,” Papacosta said.

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

FRDC Managing Director Dr Patrick Hone said working at sea and around water is inherently high risk, and noted that 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 Fish Safe that have been instrumental in shaping the new Sea Safe program,” Hone said.

SIA Wellbeing Program Manager Jo Marshall said Sea Safe is a vital initiative aimed at ensuring the safety and sustainability of the nation’s commercial seafood industry. 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 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,” Marshall said.

The program has its foundations in peer-to-peer information sharing and learning, and picks up on the research done by FRDC and its stakeholders under the National Seafood Safety Initiative along with the work of Sea Safe and Fish Safe, transitioning them into one integrated, national program. Over the next four years, SIA will continue to develop tools to help industry members 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’.

Image credit: Seafood Industry Australia

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