Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

A new online Kingfisher Bulletin service has been launched. The website and app share information about offshore hazards and activity, alerting fishermen so they can work safely around them.

The new online service offers a wide range of benefits for users, and includes both website and handheld apps for iOS and Android devices – so information can be assessed anytime, anywhere.

Users can also easily register for a Kingfisher Bulletin account. Once that’s set up they can create personal alerts and receive instant updates via email, SMS or app notifications for the sea areas they are interested in. They can also share content across social media and messaging apps or download important notices to read offline later.

The Kingfisher team are part of Seafish, the public body that supports the seafood industry in the UK. Over recent years, they produced regularly printed bulletins to bring together information on offshore hazards in waters around the UK. The new online service has been developed following feedback from industry asking for a more modern and user-friendly way of sharing this essential safety information.

Matthew Frow, Kingfisher Information Managerat Seafish said: “Industry told us that the way we were sharing information by printed bulletins could do with being modernised. In response we’ve worked with developers over the past year to create a new website and app to offer a better way for fishermen to access information on potential hazards where they work.

“Following extensive testing with Fishermen’s Federations, offshore operators and others, the website and app is now live. This is a really exciting development. The new Bulletin is a valuable resource for fishermen across the UK and we are the only people currently offering a service like this.

“I’d encourage both those who already accessed our printed materials and others who have not previously engaged with our services to download the app, visit the website and sign up for the new online alerts service.”

The website and app are available to the fishing industry for free. Funding for Kingfisher’s work comes from various sources because it’s important for fishermen to be aware of hazards and so they can continue to work safely.

The new system is also better for the offshore operators and developers who submit alerts. Now they can simply sign in to the website or app to share information at a time that suits them. The Kingfisher team will then review and publish notices as soon as possible, potentially going live within a matter of minutes. This will ensure that the information provided by the system is accurate and much more up to date than the old fortnightly release schedule.

Derek Cardno, Fisherman and Marine Safety & Training Officer at Scottish Fishermen’s Federation said: “For many years the Kingfisher Bulletin has provided critical safety information to the fishing industry. This has given the catching sector vital insight and knowledge of the hazards that lurk below the surface.

“As other users of the sea and the seabed increase their activities, such as laying cables or harvesting the natural resources, access to this information is even more important. Many hazards are unseen but present a real threat to the fishing industry so having knowledge of what and where they are is key.

“I really like the hazard alerts function in the new online system. This will give fishermen more up to date information at their fingertips on areas chosen by them. It is very encouraging to see the Kingfisher Bulletins using advancements in technology to aid fishermen’s safety.

“These new platforms will give information out faster to the people who need it the most. In an ever changing, demanding world this can only be a good thing.”

Matt Garratt, Fisheries Liaison Officer for BP North Seasaid: “The new system provides a much easier process for submitting notifications and now means we can see these go live in a matter of minutes. This, alongside the automated reminders, will allow us to have greater control over any notifications and to keep information on our activities and any hazards to fishing up to date in a much more efficient manner.”

Bernie Bennett, Oil and Gas UK Fisheries Support Co-ordinator said: “Having just used this myself to make a hazard notification, I can confirm that the system is both easy and quick to use. It gets information to the users so quickly and is a significant step forward to ensuring fishermen are promptly notified of hazards, thus reducing risk and improving safety”

Access the Kingfisher Bulletin website at www.kingfisherbulletin.org or download the app for a mobile device from the App Store or Google Play – just search for ‘Kingfisher Bulletin’.

For further information contact Matthew Frow, Kingfisher Information Manager on Matthew.Frow@seafish.co.uk or 01472 252336.