While the commercial Dungeness crab fishery is the most valuable fishery in Oregon, it’s also a very dangerous occupation. As crab season finally gets underway, researchers at Oregon State University are studying non-fatal injuries among crab fishermen and women.
Laurel Kincl is an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at OSU. She says they’re gathering data on reported injuries and also collecting surveys of crab fishermen up and down the west coast.
Kincl: “What we’re hoping is that by helping the fishermen maybe understand what is going on on the entire fleet that then they can come up with some ideas on things that they could do maybe to prevent the injuries from happening in the first place. They do value their safety a lot and we hear a lot about what they are doing to stay safe.”
Initial findings in the ongoing study are published in the journal International Maritime Health. Researchers found the majority of crab fishing fatalities occur during vessel disasters, such as boats capsizing or sinking. Fractures were the most commonly reported injury.