Sea safety for fishers in Tokelau receives boost

27 April 2021, Apia, Samoa

Safety at sea improved significantly for the fishers in Tokelau with more than 40 sea safety grab bags provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

An official handover of 42 safety at sea grab bags to the Government of Tokelau for local fishers in Tokelau took place on at the Tokelau Apia Liaison Office in Matautu this week.

Safety at sea relates to the ability of a vessel to return to port —or more usually its island or village— at the completion of a voyage or trip. FAO recognizes that fishing is one of the most dangerous professions in the world. While accidents at sea are common place around the world, small scale fishers in the Pacific are particularly highly vulnerable to accidents, including exposure to extreme weather events.

The safety bags contain items ranging from life jackets to waterproof radios. It is a vital piece of safety equipment that must be prepared and ready to go in case of an emergency while at sea.

The bags are an output of a FAO project for Tokelau to improve food security and resilience of fishing communities improved through safer fishing operations. The objective of the project was to help reduce the risks to loss of life at sea.

FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands, Ms Xiangjun Yao said at the handover, “FAO has a long history of work on safety at sea in the Pacific and continues to provide this support, noting the critical role that small-scale fisheries play towards food and nutrition security in Pacific island communities. “Yao continued. “Risks at sea can only be reduced by increasing preparedness and awareness of communities on fishing-related emergencies and accidents. In this regard, to equip fishers with needed safety gears and knowledge through training is vital”

Included with the safety bags came with sets of informative banners and poster that explain the use of the equipment contained in the safety bags and general safety practices for fishers to follow before heading out to sea.

Operations Manager, Tapaga Collins accepted the equipment on behalf of the Tokelau office and thanked FAO for its continued support.

FAO worked in close collaboration with New Zealand Maritime in delivering training and safety awareness materials during the mission to the Tokelau atolls and the Tokelau Department of Transport (TRANSTOK) was a crucial partner in providing support to the project in the form of logistics and liaising with the Taupulega on local protocols.

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