The fisheries officials and faculty of Ocean University underwent a comprehensive five-day training trainer course aimed at improving their safety practices and emergency preparedness while at sea. The training program covered various critical topics on safety at sea, emergency preparation, risk management, boat basics, emergency first aid, communications, and marine traffic rules.
Speaking to the participants, Mr. R Mukherjee, Policy Analyst, BOBP-IGO, explained the dynamic nature of fisheries risks in the Bay of Bengal region and called for setting up a regional platform for safety experts from the Bay to share their knowledge and expertise. He said that BOBP-IGO and FAO are developing an action plan, "BOBSAFE," aiming at policy intervention and capacity building to address fishers' challenges. The participants welcomed the proposal and expressed the need for continuous learning and upskilling of the trainers to guide the community better. The lack of information on accident data and the need to build a robust system were also highlighted.
Earlier, Mr. Darren Mitchel from Fish Safety Foundation highlighted the risks fishers face and noted that about 100 000 fishers die yearly in fisheries, many of which are preventable with proper intervention. He said that FishSafety Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to improve fisheries safety.
In attendance at the closing ceremony, the Director of Ocean University, responsible for training fishers, acknowledged the successful completion of the training program as a significant step forward in enhancing the safety and security of small-scale fishers in Sri Lanka.
The program was commissioned by FAO and delivered by the FishSafety Foundation with support from BOBP-IGO during 22-26 May 2023 in Negombo, Sri Lanka.