How much are fishermen affected by long term health problems like hearing loss, lack of sleep and high blood pressure? A pilot study aims to find out and researchers are using the 500-plus members of the Copper River salmon driftnet fleet as test subjects.
“The Copper River fishing season lasts five months and most of the fleet is very digitally connected so it seemed a great fit,” said Torie Baker, a Sea Grant Marine Advisory Agent in Cordova.
Baker is the point person for the project being done by the School of Public Health at the University of Washington and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is funding the study.
“The genesis stemmed from wanting to take a proactive look at the contributing health factors and health issues that are in commercial fishing,” Baker explained. “They’re trying to compare what the off season health habits and behaviors are versus what might be sacrificed or stressed during the fishing season. So it’s set up as a pre- and mid-season effort.”
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