National Fisherman


Despite technological advances, fatalities in commercial fishing have not changed significantly in the last few years.

From 2000 to 2009, 131 commercial fishermen died on the job. Half died due to drowning after vessel disasters, and another 31 percent resulted from falls overboard, according to a report from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s Alaska Pacific Office.

Alaska Pacific Office Director Jennifer Lincoln said the magnitude of fatalities hasn’t changed in the last few years, and the statistics are similar to the trends from 2000 to 2009.

In addition to collecting the statistics, the office works to mitigate the underlying issues.

But recently, NIOSH itself has needed saving.

NIOSH’s commercial fishing safety arm was slated for the chopping block in a proposed fiscal year 2013 budget, but survived when Congress used a continuing resolution for government spending instead of adopting the president’s proposal.

Then, the president had proposed cutting $22 million for the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program, of which about $1.5 million was designated for the commercial fishing safety program. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC.

However, under the continuing resolution, the program was funded at the same level as the year prior, although it was subject to sequestration.

Sequestration cuts came out of the department’s non-essential air travel, and did not affect research operations, Lincoln said.

The year before that, fiscal year 2012, NIOSH was also scheduled for cuts. Industry support convinced legislators to reinstate the money.

Funding has yet to be decided for the 2014 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The president’s proposed budget once again calls for cuts, but a version from Congress would not eliminate the money.

Ultimately, NIOSH must wait for a budget to pass to know what the funding level will be, said Public Affairs Officer Christy Spring.

The Alaska Pacific Office is responsible for fishing vessel safety nationwide, despite its Alaska location.

As long as the program lives, it is continuing its work to try to save fishermen’s lives — and right now, lifejackets are a major focus of that effort.

Falls overboard are the second largest cause of death in fishermen, Lincoln said. Only one of the 191 fishermen who died between 2000 and 2012 was wearing a lifejacket, Lincoln said.

“A PFD doesn’t guarantee survival, but it certainly increases the chances of surviving a fall overboard,” Lincoln said.

Read the full story at the Alaska Journal of Commerce>>

Inside the Industry

Ray Hilborn, a University of Washington professor of aquatic and fishery sciences, recently received the 2016 International Fisheries Science Prize at the World Fisheries Congress in Busan, South Korea.

The award was given to Hilborn by the World Council of Fisheries Societies’ International Fisheries Science Prize Committee in recognition of his 40-year career of “highly diversified research and publication in support of global fisheries science and conservation.”

Read more...

Legislators from Connecticut and Massachusetts complained about the current “out-of-date allocation formula” in black sea bass, summer flounder and scup fisheries in a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce earlier this week.

Read more...
Try a FREE issue of National Fisherman

Fill out this order form, If you like the magazine, get the rest of the year for just $14.95 (12 issues in all). If not, simply write cancel on the bill, return it, and owe nothing.

First Name
Last Name
Address
Country
U.S. Canada Other

City
State/Province
Postal/ Zip Code
Email