Fishing Federation and Maritime NZ safety campaign

1 June 2017

Today (June 1) Maritime NZ and the NZ Federation of Commercial Fishermen launch a safety campaign aimed at commercial fishing boat crews and operators.

Maritime NZ General Manager Maritime Standards, Sharyn Forsyth, said more than one in four fishing crew are injured every year (28% according to a study by research company, Neilsen, commissioned by WorkSafe and Maritime NZ). ACC statistics show most injuries are to hands, lower back, and spine.

Federation President, Doug Saunders-Loder, said that safety at sea was a core responsibility of the organization and that they continuously worked with Maritime NZ and others to ensure that vigilance prevailed. It was an issue, however, that could always do with improvement.

“Our industry has been proven to be high-risk in the safety space and we need to work on it together – that’s the big companies, our hundreds of owner-operators, Maritime NZ, and crew, too. We all have a responsibility to help each other.”

Ms Forsyth said Maritime NZ and the Federation are launching the campaign,Safe Crews Fish More, at the Federation’s annual conference as a natural collaboration across the industry.

The campaign will initially run for a year, focusing two months at a time on the six risk areas: fatigue, manual handling, safety on deck, winches, uncovered machinery, and intoxication.

Two cartoon characters, an experienced skipper, Stu, and his young son, Russell, will front the campaign. They are fictional but typical characters.

Facebook, email, postcards, and print advertising will be used to frequently contact the target audience, the crews and operators of fishing vessels under 26 metres. Those important messages will be reinforced with detailed information, which will be continuously updated, at

“Our members work hard and in difficult, moving conditions but every one of them has the right to come home unharmed and the Federation plays their part in ensuring that happens,” Mr Saunders-Loder said.

“Fishing injuries can affect people’s lives far beyond their time at work. They impact upon family life, time with friends, and also in their leisure time.

“At sea, every injury affects the whole crew. The injured person often can’t work normally, others on the crew have to help look after them, and in bad cases the boat has to stop fishing and come back to port.

“Safety helps businesses as well as the crew. Safe crews fish more.”

Safe crews fish more

Stu and Russell.
Maritime NZ © 2017
Stu and Russell, fishermen.

Raised in Westport, Stu’s father was an inshore fisherman and his son, Russell wants to be one too.

Stu’s proud that Russell isn’t frightened of hard work. And he’s hoping that one day Russell with be able to take over the family business, so that he can enjoy his retirement.

Although Stu is short on words, he’s long on caring, especially about his family, his crew, his business and his boat. Over the next 12 months, we’ll be prying into some of the short chats that Stu is having with Russell, from the school of hard knocks, about being a good fisherman.

You will learn more about Stu and Russell over the next year.

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