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Commercial Fishermen and Stress; how to address mental health on the water

What does it take to be a commercial fisherman? Be tough enough to brave the weather? Endure long hours of hard labor on very little sleep? Enjoy solitude from family and friends onshore, and work well alongside your crew members without any privacy for months on end?

Commercial fishing attracts many personality types, but most encompass a few vital traits. They must be comfortable with being on the water for long periods of time by themselves or with a select few crewmates, and they must be willing to gamble their time and energy in the hopes of catching enough to get paid well.

Although fishing can be a lifeline for some, it comes at a cost. Solitude, high stress, sleep deprivation, and constant pressure can lead to genuine impacts on one's health, both mentally and physically.

At the upcoming Pacific Marine Expo in November, AMSEA will lead a panel of speakers on Mental Health for commercial fishermen: Strategies for addressing stress on the water.

In recent years, we have started to analyze the effects of those stressful years on the water and what it is doing to commercial fishermen regarding their mental health. Now that we have a better idea of what is happening, we can begin to do something about it. We can start the conversation about handling high-stress environments, post-trauma reactions, and interpersonal relationships in close proximity to crew members over extended periods of time.

Check out this article in National Fisherman about AMSEA's upcoming panel. If you have any comments, feel free to reach out by phone, 907-747-3287, or email,


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