American fishermen are 23 times more likely than the average American worker to die on the job.
That’s a shockingly high number, and it might not surprise you if you’ve watched Deadliest Catch. Amazingly, it’s better than it used to be, and a policy that EDF has championed for a decade has played a significant role.
The on-the-job death rate comes from the Department of Labor’s annual review of workplace fatalities. Each year, the DOL analyzes all on-the-job fatalities (in actual deaths and deaths per 100,000 jobs), and for years, fishermen have held the first or second highest fatality rate. What this year’s numbers don’t show, however, is how some fisheries are making the industry a lot less deadly.
Fishermen face risks from treacherous weather conditions and heavy equipment. In some fisheries, however, the rules that govern when and where they fish actually encourage risky decisions. When fishermen are subjected to rules that limit when they can fish, they find themselves in a race against the clock, the competition, and the weather. Read More
NPR’s Planet Money created a compelling graphic to illustrate how different jobs compare in terms of the risk of getting killed on the clock. While police and fire fighters may come to mind as being the deadliest occupations, fishermen actually have the highest risk per 100,000 workers of losing their lives.
Fishing is inherently a dangerous profession, but there are many ways to make it safer that deserve attention. One is catch share management, which ends the race to fish and relieves some of the pressure on fishermen to be on the water in the worst weather because they’re afraid the fishing season will be cut off. Read more about the impact catch shares have had on safety here.
Source: Bureau Of Labor Statistics
Credit: Jess Jiang and Lam Thuy Vo /NPR
In Sunday’s Anchorage Daily News story: Deadliest Catch? Salmon, Not Crab, fisheries journalist Laine Welch writes about new statistics on where fishing fatalities are the worst. It turns out crab in the Bering Sea is not the deadliest catch. That fishery claimed the lives of 12 crabbers since 2000, while other fisheries saw many more deaths [Gulf of Mexico shrimp (55), Atlantic scallop (44) and Alaska salmon (39)].
Welch says the Bering Sea crabbers attribute the increased safety to the shift to catch share management in 2005. She explains that only one life has been lost since 2005, compared to 77 deaths between 1991 and 2005.
Posted in Uncategorized Also tagged Fishermen, Fishermen Safety