Commercial fishing fatalities in Alaska, Risk factors and prevention strategies
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Commercial fishing fatalities in Alaska, Risk factors and prevention strategies
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    Current knowledge regarding fatal fishing incidents in Alaska was reviewed, and general approaches to prevent future fatal accidents were presented. From 1980 to 1989 Alaska had the highest state specific work related fatality rate in the United States, 34.8 deaths per 100,000 workers per year. More than 20 commercial fishing fatalities occurred each of those years. Fatality rates vary by fishery, which differ in geographic location of fishing grounds, type of harvesting equipment and techniques, time of year, and duration of respective fishing seasons. Crabbing was particularly dangerous. During 1991 through 1996 there were 146 fatalities in the commercial fishing industry, 128 (87%) of whom drowned. Almost half of those who drowned were not wearing any type of flotation device. Diving fatalities have emerged as a problem in the fishing industry. Recommendations were offered which deal with vessel stability and hull integrity, licensing and training of skippers, watch keeping and staffing requirements, training of the crew, analysis of management regimes, paying closer attention to weather information, use of personal flotation devices, possible extended use of man overboard alarms, reducing the potential for becoming entangled in lines particularly during deployment of crab pots, and the development of a training curriculum for fishermen harvesting seafood or clearing lines or nets by diving. NIOSHTIC No 00240352
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