Alaska fishermen tested comfy, practical PFD models for a safety study.


The call is out for participants in the IFISH 5 conference, the largest and only international gathering of fishing industry safety and health professionals. The event has expanded to include e more fishing related sectors.

“We have expanded the focus from looking at occupational safety and health and research needs in commercial fishing to aquaculture and seafood processing.”

Jennifer Lincoln is Director of the Maritime Safety and Health Studies Center at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, a co-sponsor of IFISH along with Memorial University of Newfoundland.

IFISH is set for next June in eastern Canada and they are organizing the conference program now –

“Session proposals can be anything from round table talks where there is a lot of audience participation, panel talks where there are groups of experts on a particular topic, also abstracts featuring 15 minute talks. We’re asking folk to submit those as well.”

It will be the first time in a decade that the global conference has convened; the last meeting was in Iceland –

“Everyone always asks what it the importance of scientists gathering in a room to talk about our work. And one of the things that occurred out of the Iceland conference was a focus on how fisheries management decisions affect fishermen’s choices and therefore their safety.”

Lincoln says fisheries can be assessed for various safety landscapes and hazards.

Some solutions have included privatizing fisheries, the use of E-Stops to stop entanglements in boat winches, and creating comfy, work-friendly PFDs fishermen will wear on deck.

Lincoln famously partnered with several hundred Alaska fishermen a few years ago to field test new PFD models during months at sea.

“That practical, relevant application of having researchers and fishermen work together to come up with a solutions is an important key to improving workplace safety and reducing risks. And that study has been duplicated and improved around the coasts of the U.S.”

Lincoln calls the North Pacific a leader in striving for fishing safety at sea.

“I think the industry in the Pacific Northwest is definitely a leader when it comes to being receptive to safety interventions and thinking about safety of the crew and everyone on board. “

Deadline to apply for IFISH 5 is November 15.