Surveillance for work related fatalities in the Alaskan commercial fishing industry was discussed. Data sources included the Alaska Department of Labor (annual surveys since 1984), the Alaska Fishing Entry Commission, the McDowell Corporation (1989), a University of Alaska study (1991), and the United States Coast Guard marine casualty system (CASMAIN). The Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program data included demographics and information surrounding each event. Results showed that shellfish and groundfish fisheries annualized employment had doubled during 1986 to 1991, with modest increases in all other fisheries, and an apparent decrease in herring fishery. In 1991, of 79 total fatalities, 35 were among commercial fishers. In 1992, they numbered 29 up to September. The validity of the received data was examined. The conclusion was that for 1991, it was 95% sensitive. Personal flotation device (PFD) usage was analyzed. Of 17 individuals who drowned, only one wore a PFD, and of 20 presumed drowned, again only one wore a PFD. The author concludes that the limited information available indicates that surveillance on fatalities associated with Alaskan fisheries is now adequate to make meaningful analyses on causality and to take effective intervention measures.
Proceedings of the National Fishing Industry Safety and Health Workshop, Anchorage, Alaska, October 9-11, 1992