THE first of 5000 bespoke lifejackets, produced for Scotland’s fishermen in a new safety project, has been handed over in Anstruther.
During a visit to the harbour, First Minister Alex Salmond inspected the prototype personal floatation device to be given to every commercial fisherman in Scotland who completes the correct safety certification.
Mr Salmond also urged all Scotland’s fishermen to “stay safe on the seas” by signing up for the scheme and receiving the free life jacket, amid ongoing efforts to improve safety standards in an industry which faces dangerous conditions every working day of the year. The £438,000 initiative, led by the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation, is funded by the Scottish Government and European Fisheries Fund, and by the Federation via the Scottish Fisherman’s Trust and the UK Fisheries Offshore Oil & Gas Trust Fund.
Mr Salmond said: “Scotland’s fishing heritage is extremely rich and, for generations, the industry has worked on the seas around our coast providing a cornerstone of employment in dozens of communities the length of the country.
“Today in Scotland, the industry contributes £500 million to the economy, accounting for 5000 frontline fishing jobs and more than 5000 jobs onshore. As part of a modern, forward-thinking sector, it is vital that fishermen adhere to the highest standards of safety, to ensure those who brave the often very dangerous conditions on Scotland’s seas are able to return home to their loved ones at the end of their trip.
“Working in the fishing industry inevitably carries risks, and that is why this pioneering life-jacket initiative is so important. By encouraging our fishermen to think about health and safety during their work, we can reduce the tragic accidents that unfortunately do still happen while out on the seas.”