National Lost Trawlermen’s Memorial Day

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:31 pm on 13th December 2021.

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Photo of Robert Courts Robert Courts Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 9:31 pm, 13th December 2021

Yes, I wholeheartedly pay tribute to my predecessor for that work and to my hon. Friend the Member for South East Cornwall for her passionate advocacy of that critical step. Thank goodness that is one step we have been able to take, but there is so much more to do, and I look forward to working with her and others on that.

Changes can take time to have an effect. Although we can introduce new requirements, have more robust enforcement, develop training, give guidance, run publicity campaigns and provide funding, ultimately, safety is the responsibility of the owners of the vessel on which people work and, undoubtedly, those on board. We must always remember those who, sadly, have died while fishing, and there is no better way of remembering than by looking to the industry to eliminate all preventable deaths in future. We should follow the lead of the headscarf revolutionaries by bringing together people with all groups, not just in Government, who can influence and drive change in the industry.

Ultimately, although the Government can support initiatives and introduce new requirements, only those involved in fishing can prevent further fatalities and we will need to work with them to help to improve their safety. However, we will not sit back and wait to see whether safety improves. In the new year, I intend to write to all hon. Members with constituency fishing interests. I would like to explore this and use their unique insight and knowledge gained through their work in their constituencies—their thoughts and ideas on what they, their constituents and others can do to improve safety in this critical industry.