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Risk Assessment of the Limited Access Northeast Multispecies (Groundfish) Fishery Public Deposited

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  • Commercial fishing has historically been one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, despite the development of regulatory and voluntary initiatives aimed at making it safer. There are a multitude of environmental, physical, regulatory, and social factors that contribute to fishermen’s level of safety at sea; these risk factors can vary across fisheries or across groups within the same fishery. For example, variables such as water temperature, vessel size, or timing and location of fishing activity can all affect the risks that commercial fishermen are exposed to. One way to identify the major safety hazards and trends in a fishery is to conduct a risk assessment of that fishery. Here, we apply guidance published by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in 2015 to complete a risk assessment for the limited access northeast multispecies (groundfish) fishery. By compiling data on fleet characteristics, fishing behavior, and fishing vessel safety incidents, this research aims to (1) identify major safety hazards facing limited access groundfish fishermen, and (2) determine whether certain sub-groups within the fishery tend to be exposed to more risk than others. Additional information gathered through informational interviews with industry experts is used to further develop these analyses. Our findings may be used by fishery managers and regulators to inform the development of management alternatives for the groundfish fishery. The trends and hazards identified through this risk assessment may also help fishermen, managers, and safety professionals develop tools or programs to reduce risk and improve safety at sea.
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  • Seattle, Washington, USA
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