Written by Linc Bedrosian
Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Come Monday, Americans will get to celebrate Labor Day, a holiday that the U.S. Department of Labor says Congress created in 1894 to pay tribute to the economic and social achievements of U.S. workers. And who deserves to be recognized for their work more than our nation's fishermen?
After all, fishing is one of our nation's earliest industries, dating back some 400 years. Today, fishermen still go to sea and bring back a delicious and nutritious protein source, and the industry still makes a significant contribution to the country's workforce.
For example, an Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute report entitled "The Economic Value of the Alaska Seafood Industry" released Wednesday reveals that the Alaska seafood industry alone provided a total of 165,800 jobs, including 34,000 jobs for Washington residents in 2011. The industry directly employed 63,100 workers in Alaska, the report notes, making it the state's largest private sector employer.
Technological developments make fishing easier today than it was 400 years ago, but it remains hard, backbreaking and dangerous work. Thankfully, fishermen have advocates who have worked hard to improve fishing vessel safety and decrease mortalities, but fishing still remains a highly dangerous occupation.
According a recent Forbes article on the nation's 10 deadliest jobs, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows fishing ranks as the nation's second most dangerous occupation in 2012, second only to logging. In 2012, fishing-related professionals perished at a rate of 117 per 100,000 full-time workers. While 32 deaths were recorded last year, the total is fewer than in 2011, when 43 deaths occurred.
We can only hope that number continues to decline. Meanwhile, I raise a metaphorical glass to America's fishermen, folks who are no strangers to putting in a long, hard day's work.
The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:
The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.Read more...
Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.
Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.Read more...