Deadliest Commercial Fishing Sites Are on North East Coast

According to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it's not the Alaska Bering Sea crab fishery, the star of the Deadliest Catch series that ranks as the deadliest fishing grounds in the world. In fact, it's commercial fishing for ground fish including cod and sole, in the US Northeast Coast that kills more fishermen every year than any other fishing grounds. Next on the list of most dangerous fishing grounds are the Atlantic scallop fisheries, West Coast Dungeness crab fishing, and the Alaska Bering Sea crab fishery. The Northeast multi-species ground fish fishery had 600 fatalities for every 100,000 full-time equivalent employees, and the Atlantic scallop fisheries had 425 fatalities for every 100,000 full-time equivalent employees. The CDC bases its report on data between 2000 and 2009 in the commercial fishing industry. During this period of time, there were a total of 504 fatalities in the industry. For a long time, the Alaska Bering Sea Fishery received worldwide attention because of the severe hazards that faced fisherman in these waters. Then came the Discovery series "Deadliest Catch" series that followed several groups of fishermen as they sailed these waters in search of the elusive king crab. However, all that attention on these fishing grounds has increased Coast Guard efforts to increase safety for these fishermen. The Coast Guard now conducts preseason dockside enforcement for fishing vessels that sail on the Bering Sea, to make sure that these vessels are equipped with enough personal protection gear. The Coast Guard also now has strict rules in place against overloading these vessels with heavy crab pots. This has contributed to a decrease in the fatality rates in the Bering Sea fishing grounds. According to the CDC researchers, when they started investigating other fishing grounds, they found that some of these were even more dangerous than the Bering Sea. For instance, in the Northeast coast, vessels go out to sea for longer periods of time. That means there may be more crew members on the vessel, and more lives at risk if the vessel goes down. Overall, falls overboard and vessel disasters continued to be the main factors in fatalities in the commercial fishing industry. Maritime lawyer Brian Beckcom is a Board-Certified Trial Lawyer whose primary focus is the representation of Jones Act seamen, including tankermen, galley hands, deckhands, cruise line crews, fishing vessel crew members, offshore workers and other maritime workers in accidents in Texas, across the country and international waters. Image Courtesy: Flickr – Dustin and Jenae

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