February 1, 2005


Fairhaven Town Hall, Fairhaven, MA
Saturday, March 19-20, 2005

Recent tragedies involving the loss of New England fishermen are a harsh reminder of the high risk of commercial fishing and the need for improved safety for fishermen.

To address these needs, MIT Sea Grant is co-sponsoring a Fishing Vessel Safety Forum on March 19, 2005. The forum is being hosted by the Northeast Maritime Institute [ http://www.northeastmaritime.com ] and will include presentations by national and international experts in fishing vessel safety and government officials. In addition, a panel of fishermen and fishing vessel operators will present their views of safety issues, as will a panel of wives and mothers. Fishermen and others in the audience will also be able to offer their views and suggestions. There is no cost for attendance.

"Unfortunately, it seems to take a tragedy for fishing vessel safety to come to the forefront of some people's thinking. It shouldn't have to be that way," says Cliff Goudey, director of MIT Sea Grant's Center for Fisheries Engineering Research. "I am hoping that this forum can break that cycle and lead to a continuing process that improves both vessels and their equipment and helps maintain safety as a part of everyone's day-to-day thinking," he adds.

The forum will be followed by a fisherman's roundtable on March 20 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Northeast Maritime Institute. The roundtable will provide an opportunity to build on the forum discussions on fishing vessel safety issues, training needs, personal experiences and recommended courses of action.

In addition, six, one-day, free fishing vessel safety classes will be held on Saturdays during a six-week period at the Northeast Maritime Institute in Fairhaven, Mass. Each class will address the general philosophy and approach to safety, personal survival, and safety equipment review, and stability guidance

All those involved in the commercial fisheries community are urged to attend. Advance notice of attendance would be appreciated. For information and questions, contact: Northeast Maritime Institute, 32 Washington Street, Fairhaven, MA 02719; (508) 992-4025; email: registry@northeastmaritime.com .

For information about lodging, contact The Fairhaven Hampton Inn (map) at (508) 990-8500 or hamptonfairhaven@lafrancehospitality.com and indicate that you are attending a Northeast Maritime Institute Event.

Co-sponsors include The MIT Sea Grant College Program, The New Bedford Standard Times, WBSM, Fairhaven Commercial Fisheries News, U.S. Coast Guard First District, National Marine Fisheries Service, VIMS Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, Transport Canada, U.S. Marine Safety Association, SNAME Fishing Vessel Safety Panel, Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen's Association, Fisheries Survival Fund, and Trawlers Survival Fund. The forum is hosted by the Northeast Maritime Institute.

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