CDC releases report on commercial fishing deaths

July 22, 2010

More than 500 commercial fishermen died on the job in the past decade, according to a July 16 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations. CDC reported that from 2000 to 2009, the majority of the 504 fatalities occurred after a vessel disaster (52 percent) or a fall overboard (31 percent). The remaining fatalities stemmed from onboard injuries (10 percent) and diving or onshore injuries (7 percent).

None of the 155 crew members who died after falling overboard were wearing a personal flotation device, CDC reported. Of the falls overboard with known causes, trips and slips accounted for 33 percent, followed by losing balance and gear entanglement.

The report recommended safety interventions to prevent vessel disasters and falls overboard and encourage use of personal flotation devices among crew members.