Session 1C – Quick Takes: Short Talks on a Variety of Topics

Monday, June 11, 9:00am–10:30am, Arts and Administration Building, Room A1045

1C.1  Navigating Health Insurance and Services with Members of the Fishing Community – Gretchen Biesecker and Lauren King, Fishing Partnership Support Services (Presentation slides).

Fishing Partnership Support Services (FPSS) serves commercial fishing workers and their families. Our innovative community-health-worker model employs Navigators, who live in the community and come from fishing families. In 2016, we received the Community Health Worker Program of the Year award from the Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers. Our Navigators integrate services that are meaningful and relevant to the fishing industry, including assistance with health insurance and access to care, safety and survival trainings, as well as financial planning and wellness workshops, with the goal of enhancing the health of fishermen and their families. Our Navigators partner with health centers and healthcare providers, trauma counselors, universities, boat captains, the Coast Guard, and community leaders to develop and evolve programming and leverage community assets.

In this presentation, we will focus on best practices in our community health work, highlighting:

  1. Combining trust and training, including some of the key skills for Navigators;
  2. Creative methods to engage hard-to-reach members of the fishing community.
  • FPSS has supported over 19,000 fishing families throughout New England with health insurance. Because many fishermen lack a regular source of care, FPSS helps consumers shop for and maintain coverage, access a primary care doctor, and understand their health coverage. Trained and trusted, they provide peer listening, social support, and linkages to mental health services. For instance, in New Bedford, MA, a Navigator serves as a trained peer recovery coach, helping to address the opioid crisis.
  • FPSS’s outreach strategy depends on repeated contacts with consumers, who often carry suspicions of government requirements. Because of this challenge, our Navigators deliver much of their outreach where fishermen live and work: on the docks, at trade shows, at industry meetings, at other fishing events they attend, such as safety trainings. We look forward to learning more about other organizations’ approaches.

1C.2  Clam Mariculture Safety in South Carolina: A Case StudyRobert Durborow, Kentucky State University; Melvin Myers, Emory University; Andrew Kane, University of Florida, Gainesville 

In 2008, an investigation of clam mariculture safety practices was carried out at the onshore facility and onboard the harvest vessel of a coastal South Carolina clam mariculturist. Clam juveniles are stocked in polyester mesh bags and staked in a shallow estuarine area (about 10 miles off shore, leased from the state of South Carolina) for about one or two years (longer in northerly climates) while they reach harvestable size. The owner relayed an incident about another clam harvester who was stung in the knee by a stingray. The injury was serious and caused the victim to miss work for 2 to 3 months. After this incident, most of the workers began wearing reef boots (heavy rubber boots that go above the knee). The owner identified the following as the most dangerous tasks in his clam mariculture work:

  • working around grading tumblers used for size-grading and cleaning clams;
  • working around water, even though the water tends to be shallow (around 4 feet deep) and their boats are self-bailing; and
  • driving boats at high speeds to and from the estuarine grow-out areas avoiding multiple sand bars enroute.

A neoprene wet suit and gloves are worn by workers who go in the water to prevent scrapes and cuts from clams and barnacles that grow on PVC markers. A water pump (that gets very hot) is used to spray water over bags to clean mud from the clams. This cleaning procedure is more efficient than the older strenuous technique of moving the clam bag to flush out the mud and helps to prevent fatigue and muscle strain. Use of a pulley on a metal boom provides leverage when lifting clam bags from the water and suspending them during the spray cleaning, which also avoids muscle fatigue and strain.

1C.3  Mortality in Commercial Fishing: A Proportionate Mortality Ration Analysis of Two Fishing Ports in MassachusettsScott Fulmer and Shruti Jain, University of Massachusetts Lowell (Presentation slides).

As commercial fishing in the US has been the subject of study to better understand occupationally-related fatality rates for the development of surveillance to track geographical and fishery-specific differences in fatality rates, most prior occupational health studies in commercial fishing in the US have focused on occupational events, rather than on all causes mortality. There have been a few studies that examined occupational disease causality among fishermen, but these have tended to be European or Canadian, and have not used data from the US fisheries.

More recently, in the United States, there has been attention to opioids in the general population, and the fishing industry, in particular. In Massachusetts, for example, naloxone use has been introduced into commercial fishing safety trainings, as well as a few community-based prevention projects aimed to understand and reduce opioid and other drug abuse among commercial fishing industry workers in Massachusetts. Some researchers have attempted to quantify the contribution of occupational exposures to opioid-related fatalities, a very important pathway that assumes exposure to risk for non-fatal injury leading to use of prescription opioids, then to addiction and death by overdose.

This study examined all-cause mortality of commercial fishermen in two Massachusetts communities, 2000-2014, to determine whether there are diseases or causes, including suicide, liver disease, overdose to opioids, or specific cancers, that occur at a higher-than-expected rate in this occupational group. Death certificate data, obtained from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, listing deaths from the fishing ports of Gloucester and New Bedford, Massachusetts, were grouped into fishermen and non-fishermen, and matched by place or residence of death, month of death, and age at death. Proportional mortality rates were examined to determine whether specific causes were higher among fishermen than expected from the non-fishermen data.

1C.4  Maritime health research in Latin America – a literature reviewOlaf Jensen, University of Southern Denmark & IMHA-Research; Elpida Frantzeskou, University of Athens, Greece; M. Luisa Canals, University of Cadiz, Spain and IMHA-Research; Despena Andrioti, University of Southern Denmark and IMHA-Research (Presentation slides).

Background: So far the maritime health and safety research for seafarers and fishermen mainly comes from the industrial developed countries with sparse contributions from the developing countries. The aim was to give an overview of the peer reviewed research in Latin America to point out the needs for maritime health research in this part of the world.

Materials and Methods: PubMed, Google Scholar, SciELO – Scientific Electronic Library Online, Pan American Journal of Public Health, Medicina Maritima and other relevant journals in Latin America in the Spanish and English languages were searched.

Results: 57 peer-reviewed articles only on fishermen´s health and safety were eligible and included. There were none for seafarers and none for fatal accidents in fishing and seafaring Brazil counted for the main part n =39, while each of the other countries had 0-4 studies. The study objectives include occupational injuries, divers disease, skin diseases, hearing loss and other issues. The cross-sectional studies include especially ergonomic problems and environmental pollution. Studies on fatal accidents are absent in fishing and seafaring as well.

Conclusions: Most of the studies are concern with health problems, like in other parts of the world, while some health problems are specifically related to the tropic areas. More studies are needed on seafaring and fishing for the prevention of health risks among fishermen and seafarers in Latin America.

1C.5  Establishing Standards for Observer SafetyDale Jones, U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service

Fisheries observers face a very challenging set of work place conditions.  While working alongside people engaged in commercial fishing, one of the world’s most hazardous occupations, they are subject to the same or comparable threats to their health, safety and welfare.  Observers may also work within somewhat isolated or hostile environments.  Maintaining a comprehensive, credible and reliable set of standards for observer safety is paramount to assuring that everything that can be done is being done to promote the highest possible level of safety for and by them.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) works in collaboration with a number of observer service providers to assure adequate coverage needed to meet the regulatory requirements for approximately 40 domestic commercial fisheries.   NMFS observer coverage requirements generate the staffing need for as many as 900 fisheries observers and nearly 74,000 annual observer sea days.  In addition to staffing for U.S. domestic fisheries, NMFS is party to at least 6 international conventions and treaties with international observers deployed in non-U.S. fisheries in the international forum.

NMFS is very concerned about assuring that we identify and implement viable approaches to enhancing and establishing the highest level of standards for observer health and safety. To assure that we are able to meet these expectations, NMFS has taken on the challenge of updating and improving the established national observer safety practices and guidelines.  The result will be the creation of a more comprehensive and standardized set of safety measures within the parameters of observer training, communications, equipping, reporting, fitness (medical and physical), staffing and other related areas.

The management related areas of planning, policy development, regulatory actions and contracted service provisions may also greatly and positively influence the actions that contribute to assuring the delivery of a safer outcome for observers.  The assessment of other factors associated with each fishery, in terms of its international, national and regional characteristics, such as cultural influences or unique fishery specific practices and conditions, are also important factors that will be considered.

This presentation will provide an overview of the various safety considerations and categories that NMFS has identified and is incorporating into its set of Observer Safety Standards.  It will also include comment on the approach to “self-assessment” that NMFS is implementing for its various observer programs and on some of the approaches taken to get to this point.

1C.6  Seafood Worker Health and Safety Surveillance in Gulf Coast Communities – Andrew Kane, Southeastern Coastal Center for Agricultural Health and Safety and University of Florida; Robert Durborow, Kentucky State University; Melvin Myers, Emory University (Presentation slides).

Surveillance studies with Gulf coast fishers, crabbers, shrimpers, and oyster and clam harvesters are underway to identify risk factors associated with fatal and non-fatal injuries where the majority of workers are self-employed and uninsured. Community partnerships highlight the importance of engaging with seafood workers to implement an in-person questionnaire tool supplemented with workplace observations on harvesting and fishing vessels. Falls overboard and winch injuries are associated with many of the fatalities and severe injuries reported. Musculoskeletal injuries, cuts and lacerations, bites, spine punctures, and heat and sun exposure are also concerns for these workers. Conditions associated with unstable work platforms in harsh settings, coupled with declining fisheries – related in part to climate and environmental change – appear to increase risk of onboard incidents, drug use and mental health issues. Surveillance data will guide the development of interventions and outreach tools to support Gulf coast seafood worker health and safety.

1C.7  Gear Modification to Prevent Injuries of Dungeness Crab FishermenLaurel Kincl, Viktor Bovbjerg, Kaety Jacobson, Amelia Vaughan, and Melissa Myers, Oregon State University (Presentation slides).

The Fishermen Led Injury Prevention Program (FLIPP) includes public health researchers, Oregon Sea Grant Extension and FLIPP community researchers in partnership with NIOSH. FLIPP is engaging fishermen in research to understand high risk tasks, safety perceptions, and injury prevention opportunities. The FLIPP survey of crabbing–related injuries and fishermen’s insights on safety was administered in person along the West Coast just before the 2015-16 crab season. Just before the 2016-17 crab season, FLIPP had conversations with fishermen about survey results to solicit ideas for injury prevention. With 436 fishermen surveyed, the majority of limiting injuries (88%) occurred with deckhands. The most common were sprains and strains (36%) and most were associated with handling, hauling, and setting crab pots (72%). Feedback from fishermen provided an idea for an engineering control related to handling crab pots. A gear modification referred to as a “banger bar” adds padding and a stop bar to the sorting table that a retrieved pot can be tipped and banged against to release the crab. Potential benefits include reduction of awkward postures, forceful exertions and repetitive motions, but the system might affect production and introduce pinch point hazards. After exploring the idea with our community researchers, we learned more information about the use, purpose, and limitations of such a system. We identified factors related to designing for broader use since all vessels, decks and sorting tables vary. In addition, FLIPP conducted a poll through the Oregon Sea Grant Facebook page to solicit input from stakeholders. Sixty people responded to the poll with 78% saying they have used a banger bar. Of 43 comments received, 60% said bars helped dumping pots and/or improved safety. FLIPP would like to learn from others with experience with crab fishing about gear modifications or other solutions that could prevent injuries to deckhands.

1C.8  Safety Effects of Property Rights Contract Changes: Evidence from Field Experience in Fisheries Akbar Marvasti, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

I measure the effect of contract changes on selected fishery resources in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). I apply the difference-in-difference approach to commercial fishery panel data. My cross-sectional units use the red snapper and grouper-tilefish fisheries as treatment groups and the shrimp fishery as the control group. The results show that the grouper-tilefish individual fishing quota has improved commercial fishing safety in the GOM. The lack of an effect from the red snapper individual fishing quota program seems to be due to interrelatedness and economies of scope stemming from the multispecies nature of reef fish fishery in the GOM.

1C.9  Stakeholders to the quality of future accident reporting from fisheries and aquaculture – Edgar McGuinnes, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Fisheries and aquaculture are dangerous professional callings, yet despite almost ubiquitous recognition of this, we still actively learn, know or understand very little regarding their accident occurrences. The majority of current injury statistics arising from sparse details recorded in self-completed reporting forms. These basic formats ultimately determine the extent of our accident understanding; the parameters to be probed; and the extent of preventative learning. These question formats having been adopted some time distant, have failed to progress with time or investigative methodologies, are ineffectual, insufficiently detailed orientated, and incapable of capturing the range of conditions for recording knowledge for posterity. Leaving international maritime accident learning rooted in a traditional, poorly conceived approach to minimal recording and management of data.

As such, the paucity of current knowledge and accident understandings, presents a significant barrier to the prevention of accident reoccurrences. This knowledge purports the development of a future orientated, format for fisheries accidents application, rationalization of content, and promotion of additional research topics, to extend learning potential. However, such an approach must balance the requirements of the various stakeholders to the reporting system from governmental outputs to fisher’s input requirements. It must also balance the desires of researchers for supporting information about the content, context and influences affecting fisheries accidents with the knowledge, skills and abilities of those reporting to provide it. This work therefore looks to identify the specific requirements of each party and to temper that which is required from that which could be beneficial to know moving forward.

1C.10  Commercial Fishermen Safety in Uncertain Times: Insights from Interviews of the Northeast Multi-Species Groundfish FishermenTammy Murphy and Maria Vasta, U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service

Commercial fishing is among the most dangerous occupations in the US; its annual fatality rate consistently exceeds the national average. The Northeast Groundfish Trawl fleet suffered the highest fatality rate from 2005-2014 of all federally managed fleets in the region. Marked changes have occurred in the groundfish fishery since the implementation of Amendment 16 to the fishery’s Federal Management Plan (FMP) in May 2010. The 2006 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act required the implementation of Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures in the fishery. At the same time, the primary management framework for the fishery moved from the effort control based Days at Sea system to catch share management, which allocates fishing quota to entities called sectors. Sectors are groups of fishing vessels that receive Annual Catch Entitlements (quota) for 10 of 13 groundfish species in the FMP and are exempt from many of the traditional effort controls. Vessels that are not enrolled in sectors are in the “common pool” and each is constrained by traditional effort measures designated in the FMP.

The transition to sector management and quota changes for key groundfish species have coincided with a number of compositional changes and decreasing socio-economic performance for the fishery. Some groundfish permits holders have stopped actively fishing and instead lease out their harvest shares, some have switched target species, some have expanded their portfolios to include other fisheries, and some have exited the fishery industry altogether.

From June 2013-September 2014, sixty-three interviews were conducted in person with groundfish fishery participants in several New England ports to better understand the factors influencing the decision to cease or continue actively fishing for groundfish. This poster presents some findings from these interviews, focusing on safety-related factors that contributed to fishermen’s decision to transition out of the active groundfish fishery.

1C.11  Unintended consequences of observer coverage on fishing safety on the West Coast – Lisa Pfeiffer, U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service

Policy not directly intended to affect fishing safety can have unforeseen consequences. One example is in the West Coast Groundfish Trawl fishery, where a catch share program implemented in 2011 required 100% observer coverage. The companies providing the observers bill on a 24-hour time clock, starting at midnight. This incentivized midnight departures, especially as a subsidy intended to ease the transition to 100% observer coverage decreased. We demonstrate that there are some West Coast ports where departing port at ideal tide conditions is important, and that the billing policies of the observer companies have increase the propensity for fishermen to leave port at less-than-ideal port conditions. We find that smaller vessels, which pay a larger percentage of their revenue for observer coverage, are more affected than larger vessels. These smaller vessels are also expected to be more vulnerable to dangerous tide conditions and bar crosssings.

1C.12  Increasing Adoption of Safety Technologies in Commercial FishingTed Teske, Tristan Victoroff, and Chelsea Woodward – U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

During 2000-2014, 81 commercial fishing deaths in the U.S. were from onboard injuries. 36% of those were the result of a winch entanglement. From 2000 to 2012, 9 of 36 winch entanglements were fatal in the Southern shrimp fleet (25%). The Alaska Fishermen’s Fund shows the Northwest salmon seine fleet experienced fewer fatalities but high rates of winch-related injuries. Nonfatal entanglements can be severe and often career-ending. Such injuries can result in permanent disability, incur large medical expenses, and can affect a fisherman’s lifelong earning capability.

NIOSH has developed engineering interventions to prevent or reduce the severity of winch entanglement injuries on specific vessels such as purse seine vessels in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska and on side-trawl shrimp vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. The Emergency Stop system for purse seine capstan winches has been commercialized for 10 years with minimal adoption by industry. NIOSH is also just concluding field work on static winch guards for drum winches and an auxiliary stop system for try-net winches on Gulf of Mexico shrimp vessels.

A new 4-year study will look at increasing the rate of adoption of these technologies by using the Diffusion of Innovation model and Grounded Theory methodology to identify barriers and facilitators to adoption among the target audiences for each technology. The research will then shift to developing, testing, and evaluating targeted interventions to address the barriers and leverage the facilitators with the goal of increasing the rate of adoption among the target audiences.

This presentation will discuss the state of adoption for these interventions and the development of the study design and methodology with a goal of gaining feedback from participants on similar studies and interventions in other fisheries or with other technologies in the global fishing industry.

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