The Seafarers’ Charity is supporting a pilot project called “Fishing First” to develop safety management onboard fishing vessels to the standard of the Fishing Safety Management (FSM) Code.

Fishing First Safety Management is delivered by the SafetyFolder, a free online safety management system for fishing vessels, and aims to improve safety in the UK fishing fleet as well as increase supply chain transparency

Reducing risk is especially critical on fishing vessels which remain by far the highest risk industry in the UK with 100 times the risk of death compared to the average UK worker (MAIB). The Seafarers’ Charity is improving the lives of seafarers every day and a big part of that is making sure fishers can work and return home safely from voyages without experiencing harm or accidents.

What we are doing now

The Seafarers’ Charity has begun the pilot project in the South West of England for up to 50 fishing vessels which are receiving professional support to develop their safety management practices, supporting operators to demonstrate compliance with ILO 188C Work In Fishing Convention by meeting the requirements of the Fishing Safety Management Code (MGN 596F), published by the MCA in 2017.

The Seafarers’ Charity is coordinating the project which has secured funding support from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), Fisheries and Seafood Scheme and the Trinity House Department for Transport Maritime Safety Fund. There has been widespread support across the industry to help all vessels adopt the FSM Code as published in 2017. An industry steering group has been established and the initiative is fully supported by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) which regulates and certifies UK fishing vessels.


Adopting a Safety Management System has been a game changer in protecting workers from injury and saving lives in high risk industries. By adopting an auditable Fishing Safety Management System, operators are documenting all of their safety and welfare activity and have peace of mind that they are compliant with regulations. Documentation is to the standard of the Fishing Safety Management Code and is designed to avoid duplication with the MCA’s Surveys and Inspections, therefore simplifying compliance with legislation.

Good for safety and good for business

Both consumers and the wider seafood industry have a growing interest in sustainability, ethical issues and transparency of how and where seafood is caught. Operators adopting a formal safety management system will be in a position to offer better supply chain transparency and develop the potential to add value to their business as a producer of high quality UK seafood.

All UK fishers can sign up for free to use the SafetyFolder.

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