Fishing fatalities prompt discussions on safety
Eight deaths at sea so far this year in Nova Scotia
The Fishing Safety Association of Nova Scotia is concerned about the high number of deaths on Nova Scotia's waters and says a strategy is needed to reduce the number of fatalities.
"It's dark and gloomy and it's sad," said Stewart Franck, the executive director of the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia.
"At the same time it needs to be a motivator, to know that we need to do more, we need to be faster at getting the message out there."
According to the Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, 41 people across the country died in workplace incidents at sea between 2000 and 2010. During that same time period, 19 people died fishing in Nova Scotia — meaning the province had just under half of the country's fishing fatalities.
There have been eight fishing-related deaths in Nova Scotia so far this year, with the most recent one earlier this week when a 55-year-old fisherman suffered fatal injuries after falling from the crow's nest — a structure with a fixed ladder in the center of the vessel.
Paul Vernon "Brex" Malone, from Lower East Pubnico, was on the ladder of the sword fishing boat Savana & Jax when he fell and died as a result of his injuries.
Franck said his association has been working with the province's Workers' Compensation Board for the past couple of years to try to improve safety for fishers by changing attitudes among them that some deaths are preventable.
Franck said although he's met with some resistance, the more he talks to fishermen at the wharf the more he senses change.
"We are seeing and hearing about more people wearing safety gear," he said.
"On dumping days there are more and more fishers and fishermen that are wearing their personal floatation devices."
The Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia said most fatalities happen less than 50 kilometres from shore, and trap-based industries like lobster and crab — which are common in Nova Scotia — have the highest fatality counts.