Recent Stats on West Coast Commercial Fishing Fatalities

I read an extremely interesting AP article tonight on regarding the latest statistics on the dangers and fatalities of commercial fishing; specifically, commercial fishing on the West Coast (California, Oregon, and Washington) and Alaska. The full article can be accessed by clicking on the above link.

In a nutshell, the new report from the federal government states that West Coast fishing has one of the highest death rates in commercial fishing, higher even than in Alaska.

The report states that although Alaska’s Bering Sea crab fishery has been described as the most dangerous fishery, the Northwest Dungeness crab fleet had a greater number of fatalities and a higher fatality rate during 2000-2006.

Very interesting article, especially if you have ties to both Alaska and West Coast fisheries (including NW Dungeness crab), which we and so many others do.

In my prowl of the Internet this evening, I also stumbled upon a blog that features some interesting photos from the commercial fishing section of Squalicum Harbor.

The first photo shows the town’s original fisherman’s memorial, the Anchor Memorial, that bears the names of several Whatcom County lost at sea fishermen (including that of my brother-in-law, Danny, who was lost in 1997 while fishing for Snow crab in Alaska). There is a new fisherman’s memorial at the harbor now, but the statue looks more like a recreational than a commercial fisherman. Anyway, the fifth picture down shows commercial boats tied up in the harbor, including our very own F/V Vis.

(If you are looking for additional statistics on commercial fishing fatalities, please see the post Commercial Fishing Job Risks: Stats and a Story, from February 17, 2008 in the Highliners and Homecomings archives)


  1. That is an interesting article! Good job on bringing it to attention. My great grandfather died at sea fishing in Alaska…1940…his name is on the memorial down at Zuanich. Saw this website: which shows a current pic and lists names. I think the Alaska fishing/crabbing lately is just getting a lot of attention because of the Deadliest Catch show.

  2. As a lawyer who has worked on behalf of many families who have been injured, and in some cases been killed, I can say the vast majority of my cases have come from local fisherman here in Washington.

    You are right in that Alaska does get much of the focus as “Most Dangerous”, but the truth is that all fisherman are exposed to all types of danger, some Natural, and some man made.

    My heart goes out to all families that have experienced any level of tragedy. Fisherman rely heavily on their incredible physical ability required to do their job. Even the slightest of injuries can have a devastating effect on their ability to provide for their families.

    Thanks for the great article and please be safe out there!

  3. I’m looking for a job i worked for Rod Mills out of Charleston Organ as a bait man I’m looking for a tuna, cod, crab, etc… the market for work has taken a hard crash where i am i also have a little one on the way i need a job for little ones future. if any one knows of a boat needing an experienced hand? Good luck Gentleman i hope the fishing is good.

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