fishSAFE 2025

Our Work Series

Fishing village, Chittagong, Bangladesh

Developing a Safety Intervention Programme for Bangladesh

It is well recognised that fishing is a hazardous occupation. While there is a lack of relevant statistics kept in most jurisdictions, it is estimated that this exceeds 100,000 deaths annually in the pursuit of fishing.

The number of working injuries is also likely to be significant while the health and lifestyle risks for fishers is well-documented including the musculoskeletal disorders, high rates of cancer and diabetes and substance abuse issues. There is also the risk of robbery, kidnapping and violent crime associated with piracy, particularly in the developing world.
Bangladesh fishermen throwing nets into ocean


As a result of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) exploratory meeting in London in 2018, it was determined that there needed to be an investigation into ways to reduce the unacceptably high injury and fatality rates in the commercial fishing industry. It was determined that the initial focus should be on the fishing industries in the developing world, particularly in Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines.

An LRF funded research project was jointly conducted between the FSF and the Marine Institute (Memorial University, St John’s, Canada) in the Philippines between September 2018 and February 2019. This focused on safety in small scale fishing and determined safety training and awareness creation to be the two most needed interventions.

Key outcomes

  • Development of a suite of fishing industry-based training material
  • Provision of training for a group of local trainers
  • Safety Promotion Campaign

For the programme to have been successful, it was crucial to establish a platform that fosters self-sustainable culture change within the fishing industry in Bangladesh. This objective was achieved by equipping local trainers with the necessary knowledge and tools to conduct training independently. To ensure community relevance, trainers were selected from within the targeted communities and provided with comprehensive training.

Our training programs are designed to adhere to the highest industry standards, following best practices. It ensures compliance with relevant local and international legislative frameworks, such as the Work in Fishing Convention (c.188) and Cape Town Agreement, as well as the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Fishing Personnel (STCW-F 1995).

We understand the importance of effective learning, which is why our training materials were presented in a manner that encourages interaction and comprehension. Where appropriate, we incorporated visual aids and illustrations to facilitate better understanding for fishers.

Why Bangladesh?

Bangladesh was selected due to the importance of fish in the local diet, its high number of fishers and the acknowledged dangers of fishing. It also has the shortest coastline in the region, making it ideal for a targeted safety intervention campaign.

An initial visit to Bangladesh by FSF was undertaken in September 2019. FSF and PSTU representatives visited fishing villages in the Southern Barisal Division and identified two target areas for the project (Mohipur and Alipur villages). This assisted with identifying the key issues faced by fishers with regard to safety and some insight into the common risks and hazards faced, along with relevant lifestyle factors. The need for safety intervention was clearly identified.


Engaging with Community Members

During community meetings held in Alipur, Mohipur, and Patharghata, stakeholders shared information about a concerning number of fatalities that had taken place in the area. One respondent mentioned an incident from earlier in the year where 15 people lost their lives when a vessel sank, and additional 3-4 individuals were reported missing. Another village reported a total of 50 fatalities over the past five years. These deaths were attributed to accidents caused by vessels sinking in bad weather, as well as other incidents leading to loss of life.

It is crucial to address these issues and work towards improving safety measures to prevent further tragedies.

Short semi-structured interviews conducted with the help of a Bangladesh translator

To gather valuable insights, a small study was conducted with the wives of fishermen residing in the coastal villages of Mahipur and Alipur, Bangladesh. This study was undertaken in conjunction with other data collection efforts, aiming to better understand the experiences and challenges faced by these women within the fishing industry.
The profound influence of fishing on the lives of wives, their families, and communities cannot be overstated. The women, their families, and the very fabric of the communities they resided in were deeply affected by the practice of fishing. There was a pervasive feeling of acceptance, as if they were bound to a life centred around fishing with limited opportunities for pursuing alternative careers.
A wide range of captivating illustrations - from character-based showing important safety concepts to dynamic isometric designs.

Creating Culturally-Adapted Illustrations to Facilitate Learning for Bangladesh Fishers

Illustrations play a crucial role in conveying learning material effectively, especially in cases where words alone may not suffice. In the context of the training material developed for FISHSAFE2025, they acted as a universal language that transcended cultural and linguistic boundaries.

CPR as part of the First Aid Module developed for Bangladesh
Demonstration as part of the Boat Handling module for Bangladesh
Various boat types, along with other items, were utilised for Bangladesh to ensure relevance.
Man on his fishing boat, Chittagong, Bangladesh

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Key Contacts
Dr Md. Sazedul Hoque
Associate - Bangladesh
M Hasan Joy
Associate - Bangladesh
Dr Kate Pike
Associate - United Kingdom
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