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The fishers and related fishing workers occupation is characterized by strenuous work, long hours, seasonal employment, and some of the most hazardous conditions in the workforce. Over the period from 2003 to 2009, there were 334 fatal occupational injuries in this occupation, with more than half of those injuries occurring in five states frequently associated with fishing activities: Alaska (70), Massachusetts (39), Florida (29), Louisiana (25), and Oregon (25).
GFishers and related fishing workers make up a small occupational group—about 31,000 workers in 2009—so the number of fishers killed on the job translates into a high rate of fatal occupational injuries. In 2009, the rate was 203.6 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, which is more than 50 times the all-worker rate of 3.5 per 100,000.
Of the 334 fishers and related fishing workers who were killed on the job over the 2003–2009 period, 40 percent were self-employed and 60 percent were wage and salary workers. Sometimes fishers work on their own boats, but more often they are part of a company that has a crew and most likely more than one person per boat.
Although fishing is highly seasonal—not all fish and shellfish are available at all times of the year—fishing workers are always fishing; they just fish for different things at different times of the year. As a result, fatal injuries among fishing and related fishing workers tend to be distributed fairly evenly over the 12 calendar months.
These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. To learn more, see "Facts of the catch: occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities to fishing workers, 2003–2009" (HTML) (PDF), Beyond the Numbers vol. 1, no. 9, August 2012.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Fatal injuries among fishing workers, 2003–2009 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2012/ted_20120823.htm (visited March 26, 2023).