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OREGON COMMERCIAL CRAB FISHERIES MOST DEADLY ON WEST COAST

It is well recognized that working as a commercial fisherman is one of the deadliest jobs in the world. On average, there are 128.9 commercial fishing deaths per 100,000 workers. This rate is over 30 times higher than all combined occupations. Even more sobering, according to recent research released by The National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH), is the fact that Oregon crab fisherman have a death incident nearly six times higher than other commercial fisheries, and nearly ten times higher than crab fisherman working in similar waters in Washington.

Implementation of safety procedures and equipment in the Oregon crab fishery have lagged behind Alaska, Washington and California. On the eve of the opening of the Dungeness Crab fishery on December 1, 2010, the United States Coast Guard has begun “Operation Safe Crab.” The Coast Guard will be conducting safety spot checks and voluntary dockside exams at ports up and down the Oregon and Washington coast from November 16, through November 25. The team of inspectors will be focusing on safety equipment such as EPIRBs, survival suits, and life rafts. The Coast Guard will also be examining crab pot loading practices while the vessels are still dockside. Overloading a boat with crab pots can cause deadly instability resulting in a boat unexpectedly capsizing. The overloading of boats with crab pots has been blamed for the loss of many crab boats.

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