NOAA’s Fisheries Service is soliciting input from the public as it starts the process of updating the national guidelines that concern the safety of commercial and recreational fishermen in federal waters. These guidelines are used by federal fisheries managers as they draft fishing rules and regulations around the nation.
National Standard 10 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act states:
"Conservation and management measures shall, to the extent practicable, promote the safety of human life at sea."
According to NOAA, current National Standard 10 guidelines were drafted in 1998 and since then fishery management and analytical methods to evaluate safety have changed and improved.
"The safety of fishermen is a top priority for NOAA," said Eric Schwaab, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. "The current standards need updating, and our goal is to get as much information as we can about how to make them work better."
Commercial fishing is an extremely dangerous occupation. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, during 1992-2008, the average annual fatality rate for commercial fishermen was 128 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to the average of four deaths per 100,000 workers for all U.S. occupations.
Additional information about the National Standard 10 guidelines can be found at