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LOBSTER OUTLOOK: Southwestern NS fishermen asked 'Are you ready?' as focus is put on safety heading into season

Volunteer diver Brandon Fitzgerald from the Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council is hoisted up out of the water in a Pubnico ring, by the crew of the Good a Nuff I, during a man overboard drill on the Clark’s Harbour wharf on Nov. 8. KATHY JOHNSON PHOTO
Volunteer diver Brandon Fitzgerald from the Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council is hoisted up out of the water in a Pubnico ring, by the crew of the Good a Nuff I, during a man overboard drill on the Clark’s Harbour wharf on Nov. 8. KATHY JOHNSON PHOTO - Kathy Johnson

Nova Scotia Fisheries Safety Association safety advisor Matthew Duffy (left) shows fisherman Robert Atwood some of the finer points of a Fox40 Throw Bag, which has 90 feet of buoyant rope, and was one of the pieces of safety gear demonstrated during the man overboard drill. KATHY JOHNSON PHOTO
Nova Scotia Fisheries Safety Association safety advisor Matthew Duffy (left) shows fisherman Robert Atwood some of the finer points of a Fox40 Throw Bag, which has 90 feet of buoyant rope, and was one of the pieces of safety gear demonstrated during the man overboard drill. KATHY JOHNSON PHOTO

CLARK'S HARBOUR, N.S. – The Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council have been busy in the weeks leading up to the opening of the lobster fishery delivering man overboard drills, safety equipment demonstrations and safety messages at wharfs throughout southwestern Nova Scotia as part of their ‘Are You Ready?’ program.

“Attendance at these drills has been fantastic, even in smaller ports for 10 or less vessels we are still seeing all captains and crews show up,” said Matthew Duffy, safety advisor for the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia.

“Their interest has grown immensely, many coming forward with questions around safety and the regulations which is great to see,” Duffy added. “After our drills we end up staying for a half hour or more because there is usually discussions around safety equipment or safety documentation requirements.”

Well over 50 people were on hand at the Clark’s Harbour wharf for the man overboard drill on Nov. 8. Amanda Dedrick, executive director of the Fisheries Safety Association, told fishermen it’s been a sad year in the Nova Scotia fishery with seven fatalities.

“It’s one of the worst years we’ve had in a long time. It’s the most number of tragedies we’ve had since 2013 when we had the Miss Alley tragedy. Out of seven fatalities not one was wearing a PFD,” said Dedrick, noting “It is a legal requirement to wear a PFD when your safety is being jeopardized or you are at risk of drowning.”

Nova Scotia Fisheries Safety Association safety advisor Matthew Duffy outlines the features and workings of a life raft to fishermen on the Clark’s Harbour wharf which is one of the components of the ‘Are Your Ready?’ program, which is co-managed by the Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council.
Nova Scotia Fisheries Safety Association safety advisor Matthew Duffy outlines the features and workings of a life raft to fishermen on the Clark’s Harbour wharf which is one of the components of the ‘Are Your Ready?’ program, which is co-managed by the Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council.

Dedrick forewarned fishermen that the provincial Department of Labour will be stepping up enforcement of the regulation when the season opens with an increased presence on wharfs in the area and additional officers.

“If they do see folks coming into the wharfs without their PFDs on you can rest assured there will be some conversation around that,” said Dedrick.

Warnings and penalties can or will be issued if there is non-compliance for the use of a PFD.

Fishermen line the wharf in Clark’s Harbour to watch the man overboard drill staged aboard the fishing vessel Good a Nuff I, captained by Randy Nickerson, South Side. KATHY JOHNSON PHOTO
Fishermen line the wharf in Clark’s Harbour to watch the man overboard drill staged aboard the fishing vessel Good a Nuff I, captained by Randy Nickerson, South Side. KATHY JOHNSON PHOTO

The Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council began delivering the ‘Are You Ready?’ program in 2012 with wharf-side demonstrations and man overboard drills.

“People seemed pretty interested so we continued along that journey,” said Dedrick, with a goal to hit 100 percent of the 156 fishing wharves in Nova Scotia – a goal they will reach this year.

“By the end of 2018 we will have reached all 156 wharves province wide,” said Duffy. “To date we have completed 155 drills, with some wharfs being repeats.”

The Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia was launched in January 2010, with the objectives to facilitate a process to create safer workplaces, assisting return to work and injury prevention activities; to develop and provide tools to help reduce the number and duration of injuries occurring in the fishing industry; and to increase awareness of costs associated with workplace injury in the fishing industry.


READ MORE OF OUR 2018 LOBSTER OUTLOOK STORIES:

• Largest lobster fishing season opens in southwestern Nova Scotia next week

• Op-ed: Fishing safety must always be at the forefront

• SAR resources will be in place for lobster season opening in southwestern N.S.  

• Barrington’s lobster pot tree celebrates the season and tells the story of the sea

• Estimated that $1 million was raised for charity during the Live Well Challenge

• TINA COMEAU: Families on shore and at sea – the personal side of the industry

• Plastic lobster traps boost longevity, says Yarmouth developer

• Study documents lobster fishermen’s concerns with finfish aquaculture

Southwestern N.S. lobster fishermen asked: ‘Are you ready?’ as focus is on safety heading into the season

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Smooth sailing, rough weather and you’re paying what? A look at past season starts in southwestern NS

• Market conditions prime for Canadian lobster

• ‘It’s been an interesting life’: Cape Sable Island fisherman reflects on decades of fishing

• Testing the Nova Scotia waters with ropeless gear

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