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Measuring Health Outcomes in Fishing Industry Participants and Fishing Communities Using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) Public Deposited

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  • The status of fishing industry participants and fishing communities is an increasingly important consideration in marine ecosystem models and in fisheries management. Metrics that reliably measure economic, health, and other dimensions of human well-being are required to analyze the impacts of changes in marine ecosystems and policy. To date, most such metrics rely on economic and demographic data regularly collected at the community level (such as US Census data) or in-depth, expensive social surveys that are administered infrequently. In this paper we use response-level data from an annual public health survey to investigate health outcomes for participants in the fishing industry and residents of fishing communities in Washington state. The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) is a national public health survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the largest longitudinal survey in the world and includes questions on occupation, area of residence, and recreational activities. The survey responses therefore allow us to compare outcomes for fishing industry participants and fishing communities to the general population. In particular, we focus in this paper on comparing general health status, health care access, and injuries in a sample of 84 respondents identified as participating in the commercial fishing industry to the wider population of coastal counties and Washington state. These data remain largely unexplored in fisheries management and we discuss our results in the context of the data’s potential for use in social indicators and social impact assessment in fisheries management.
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  • Seattle, Washington, USA
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