NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs

NTSB calls for Safety Improvements in the commercial fishing industry

November 8, 2011

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued five safety recommendations to the U. S. Coast Guard, regarding tougher standards for commercial fishing vessels, crew training and increased use of flotation devices.

"The commercial fishing industry continues to have the highest fatality rate of all occupations in the United States; the safety hazards of this industry are unacceptable," said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman. "While numerous laws have been passed to protect fishing grounds and fish populations, regulations to improve the safety of commercial fisherman are long overdue."

NTSB has long been concerned about the high rate of vessel losses and fatalities in the U.S. commercial fishing industry. In the United States, deaths averaged 158 per 100,000 commercial fishing industry workers from 1992 to 2008, compared with an average of 4 fatalities per 100,000 workers in all occupations nationwide.

These issues were highlighted during the NTSB's forum on fishing vessel safety, held last October, in Washington, DC. During the forum, experts from the U.S. Coast Guard and industry identified numerous issues which need to be addressed to improve the safety of commercial fishing, including lifesaving equipment, replacing older vessels, and crew training - from both industry and government perspectives. The forum also identified strategies for preventing accidents and reducing the industry's high rate of injuries and fatalities.

The safety recommendations being issued today are a direct result of the information gathered during the 2-day forum and the recently completed investigations of the loss of the F/V Lady Mary and F/V Katmai. The full list of safety recommendations can be found at: www.ntsb.gov/doclib/recletters/2011/M-11-023-027.pdf.

Contact: NTSB Public Affairs
Keith Holloway,(202) 314-6100



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.