Research/studies Agriculture, forestry and fishing

Trap-setting tops list of lobster fishing overboard-fall hazards

Montreal – Setting traps is the riskiest of a half-dozen activities identified as those most often leading to overboard falls in the lobster fishing industry, according to a report from scientific research organization IRSST.

As part of the study, researchers distributed questionnaires to a group of captains and deckhands. Researchers also boarded seven boats for 20 sea excursions to gather information through video recordings and other first-person observations.

Researchers identified three main risks of falling overboard at the start of fishing season:

  • Loading lobster traps
  • Traveling from wharf to the fishing area
  • Dropping traps into the water

Meanwhile, the three risks of falling overboard during regular fishing season are:

  • Hauling traps
  • Shifting trawls in the fishing area
  • Returning traps to the water

“The initial setting of traps is the riskiest situation, although it is infrequent, happening only once during the fishing season,” the researchers wrote in a summary of the report. “The main risk factors are the weather conditions, the crew’s attitudes and behaviors, and working methods.”

Researchers said the report could be used to increase awareness among crew members and improve training on fall prevention.