Grouper/snapper fleets face the same dangers as other fishermen

| Feb 1, 2021 | Maritime Law |

Commercial fishermen have long known about the bountiful catches off the shores of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. Oysters and shrimp have long been the kings in water, but one must never forget that among the other bounties include finfish such as groupers and snappers. They are some of the best-tasting fish around.

Baked, fried, grilled and in sandwiches, groupers and snappers are served in an assortment of ways to satisfy consumers’ palates. However, from the waters to the markets, some consumers may take for granted just how that meal arrived on their plates. Many people do not understand that commercial fishermen have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.

Gulf region had 49 deaths in five-year period

Fish are plentiful off Louisiana’s coast, providing ample opportunities for commercial fishermen. A recent study ranked Louisiana’s coast as containing the second most 2-year and older snappers in the Gulf of Mexico with 29 million. That is behind the 48 million off Florida, and ahead of the states of Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.

But, along with the fish, there are dangers. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) noted that 49 people died in fishing fleet accidents in the Gulf of Mexico from 2010 to 2014. The snapper/grouper fleet ranked second among the top three that accounted for about 78% of the fatalities. Those deaths were from falls overboard, vessel disasters, onboard fatalities and diving deaths.

The three fleets that accounted for 38 of the 49 deaths during that five-year period were:

  • The shrimp fleet, which tallied the most fatalities with 25.
  • The snapper/grouper fleet, which recorded nine deaths from 2010 to 2014.
  • The oyster fleet, which had four fatalities

So many types of dangers threaten commercial fishermen, leading to potential injuries and even death. Crews must always take precautions, while their employers must provide effective safety training.