The use of locator beacons or EPIRBS for fishing vessels of less than 15 metres is to be made mandatory.

The move is part of a number of safety initiatives to be granted aid by An Bord Iascaigh Mhara.

Others include obligatory safety training courses for fishermen and the use of auto pilot alarm systems on smaller vessels.

Fishermen will also have to undergo safety and equipment training every five years.

A working group is to be established to look at all aspects of safety on fishing vessels and to report before the end of the year.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney said it is about learning from past tragedies and saving lives in the future.

Minister Coveney said that many of the 55 lives lost in five years could have been avoided through the use of better technology and better training.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mr Coveney accepted that the ban on driftnet salmon fishing and the limiting of draftnet fishing had meant that small scale fishermen in particular had moved to other forms of fishing.

He said that this in itself had not led to more drownings.

Mr Coveney said fishermen will be required to avail of training before they will be given access to the grant aid.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said these initiatives are all about striving to reach a situation where there are no fatalities at sea.