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Now Available: NIOSH & U.S. Coast Guard Announce 2023 Funding for Commercial Fishing Safety Research & Training

november 14, 2022
NIOSH Update:

MEDIA CONTACT: Nura Sadeghpour,, 202.245.0673

Crewmembers empty a crab pot of Red King crab onto sorting table of a Bering Sea crab vessel

Crewmembers empty a crab pot of Red King crab onto sorting table of a Bering Sea crab vessel

Photo credit: Mike Fourtner

The lives of commercial fishermen and their crew depend on their safety, particularly when vessels are miles away from harbor. Additional research, innovation, and training could lower their risk of injury. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, announces the availability of $6 million dollars in extramural grant funding for commercial fishing safety research and training in the coming year.

Commercial fishing is a high-risk occupation. Conducting research and critical safety trainings are opportunities to improve the health and safety of these workers. The grants, available in fiscal year 2023 and supported and administered by NIOSH, will provide funding to qualified individuals in academia, members of non-profit organizations, municipalities, and businesses involved in the fishing and maritime industries.

“Working in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard this grant program has supported researchers and trainers in the last 4 years who strive to make a difference in the lives of commercial fisherman and their families,” said Jennifer M. Lincoln, Ph.D., associate director of NIOSH’s Office of Agriculture (Forestry and Fishing) Safety and Health. “These projects have had a direct impact on safety in various regions and fisheries around the country — if you haven’t thought about applying for this funding yet, now is the time!”

Commercial fishing remains one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, characterized by hazardous working conditions, strenuous labor, long work hours and harsh weather conditions. The hazards fishermen face varies widely by type of fishing vessel and fishery in which they participate, including the associated gear used to catch seafood. Safety research and training that addresses what works best in a specific fleet and/or region is critical to help prevent injury, or death among U.S. fishermen.

Currently, grantee training work includes a focus on training fishermen in safety measures, developing first aid and training materials, and community-based “train the trainer” efforts, with varying degrees of reach. Research agreements include work in assessing the suite of electronics available for fishing vessels that could save lives when emergencies occur at sea, improving equipment to reduce musculoskeletal injuries and falls overboard, and looking into how sleep deprivation affects health and cognitive abilities, to name a few.

“These grants directly improve the lives and safety of those working in the maritime industry where applicants reflect the diversity of the fishing industry and clearly outline a path to enhance safety within commercial fishing nationally,” said Joseph Myers, chief of the Coast Guard’s Fishing Vessel Safety Division. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with NIOSH as these efforts directly support the Coast Guard’s mission to promote a safe environment in the commercial fishing industry.”

The Commercial Fishing Occupational Safety Research Cooperative Agreement (RFA-OH-22-005) and the Training Project Grants (RFA-OH-22-006) will provide up to 75% of an organization’s costs with maximum of $975k per grant over a three-year period.

Interested applicants can find the latest information about funding opportunities on the NIOSH Commercial Fishing Occupational Safety Research and Training Program website, and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

The application deadline for both funding opportunities – research and training – is January 31, 2023. A second opportunity to apply in 2023 has an application deadline of August 29. 

About the Commercial Fishing Occupational Safety Research and Training Program: The Commercial Fishing Occupational Safety Research and Training Program was established by The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-281), as amended by the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-281). The Program was created to provide funding to advance fishing safety research and provide targeted, regionally appropriate training for the nation’s commercial fishermen. NIOSH works in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard to administer the program.

About the NIOSH Center for Maritime Safety and Health Studies: For more than three decades, NIOSH has conducted studies of fishing safety to reduce the incidence of injuries and fatalities among the nation’s fishermen. NIOSH accomplishes safety and health research in maritime industries through the Center for Maritime Safety and Health Studies, which is a virtual center that serves as a hub for intramural and extramural researchers.

NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Find more information about NIOSH at

About the U.S. Coast Guard: The Coast Guard is a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces and the principal Federal agency responsible for maritime safety, security, and environmental stewardship in U.S. ports and inland waterways, along more than 95,000 miles of U.S. coastline, throughout the 4.5 million square miles of U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and on the high seas. As a military service, a law enforcement organization, a regulatory agency, a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community, and a first responder, the Coast Guard supports Department of Defense (DOD) Combatant Commanders on all seven continents, secures U.S. maritime borders, combats transnational criminal organizations, and safeguards the $5.4 trillion U.S. Marine Transportation System (MTS). The Service leverages an expansive array of military, interagency, international, and industrial relationships, capabilities, and authorities to maximize strategic effect and support DHS and National priorities.