'Too Cold for Sharks' - Ministers Launch HSA-Sponsored Children's Book to Raise Awareness in High Risk Fishing Sector

Tuesday 2nd December

  • Conversations and art about safety on the ocean, fishing and life in coastal communities by children from all over Ireland
  • Fishermen are 40 times more likely to be killed while carrying out their work when compared with the general working population

Minister for Business and Employment, Gerald Nash T.D., was joined in Croke Park by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D., in launching the Health and Safety Authority sponsored children's book 'Too Cold for Sharks' on Tuesday 2nd December 2014. The book is published by Kids' Own Publishing Partnership and is the culmination of a project involving primary school children aimed at raising awareness of ocean and fishing safety amongst fishing families and coastal communities.

The book, entitled 'Too Cold for Sharks', is the work of 116 primary school children from all over Ireland, 84 of whom won the 2014 HSA primary schools' ocean safety story/art competition, and 30 children from fishing families and fishing communities. The project was run in partnership with the 21 full-time Education Centres. The book will be sent to every primary school and library in the country and will be followed by workshops with children in fishing communities.

Minister Nash said, "This book is the work of children themselves, words and stories from their own unique perspective. Their recorded conversations and artwork is a reminder to all that behind every fishing fatality there is a devastated family - children, mothers, aunts, uncles and grandparents left grieving. Fishing is high risk work that takes place in a unique, difficult, and uncompromising environment. Fishermen are 40 times more likely to be killed whilst carrying out their work when compared with the general working population and I am committed to improving standards of health and safety within the sector."

Minister Coveney said, "With a workforce of 5,000 people and over 2,000 registered vessels, Ireland can be proud of its fishing industry and its fishermen and the role they play in our economy and society. Too many, however, have lost their lives unnecessarily to the sea and I fully support the drive to raise safety awareness in the sector. I am delighted to see that Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), RNLI and the Coast Guard lent such strong support to this project with their involvement in the six harbour-side workshops that took place with the children as part of the project."

Martin O'Halloran, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority said: "Over 3,300 children entered the HSA competition about ocean safety and fishing life. We are delighted to be celebrating some of these children here today with the publication of their book. When incidents happen in the fisherman's workplace, it can wipe out multiple members of the same family. If we don't see a change of mind-set amongst the fishing sector now, we will raise a new generation to take exactly the same risks as those who have gone before them."

Orla Kenny, Creative Director with Kids 'Own Publishing said, "Our artists and writers worked directly with the children in beautiful harbour-side locations to ensure their voices were heard and represented in this this engaging and beautiful book. The HSA has recognised that behind every fisherman is a family. Children have a significant role to play in achieving cultural change in this high risk work sector. We look forward to working with schools now to ensure this book is actively used as a resource to promote safety."

Paul Fields, Director, Kilkenny Education Centre said, "We were delighted to work with the HSA on the 2014 HSA primary schools' ocean safety story and art competition. It's great to see it coming to fruition now with the publication of 'Too Cold for Sharks'. All 21 full-time Education Centres promoted it across schools in every county and as ever we are delighted to support the safety message in schools. Teachers play such a significant part in the education of children and this publication provides them with a valuable teaching resource about health and safety. Children have raised their own awareness levels as well as bringing the safety message home to parents."