A Fisherman's Job Isn't As Safe As It Seems

The water's natural beauty can sometimes hide its unforgiving nature, as most fishermen know. Commerical Fisherman are considered one of the oldest jobs on the coast and one of the most dangerous around the world. A new study from the United Nation's reports more than seventy commercial fishermen die each day. Thousands make their living on the water and a new report from the United Nations says thousands die doing it. Full time fishermen in the United States are twenty-five to thirty times more likely to die on the job than any other profession. Worldwide, more than 24,000 fishermen died each year working the water.

Coast fishermen were reminded of that sad fact last week, when two fishermen died in the waters of the West Pascagoula River. "Everyone knows it from the King crabber in Alaska to the netter down here in Mississippi knows its very dangerous being out there," said Kenneth Borries of Tucei's Fishing Camp. Weather is one of the biggest dangers. John Burnsed knows that because he pilots a tug during the winter and fishes during summer. He says fishermen are having to work more during bad weather conditions to make ends meet.

Most commercial fishers say they know the about the risk and dangers but this is a job they were born into. "There is just something about being out there in nature like that, making your living from the sea. It's a good part of my yearly time on the water making money its something I'd rather do than sit behind a desk in an office," said Borries. Kenneth Borries and his family have always made their living from the water.

He says last Tuesday's the deadly accident shows that even long time fishermen like Red Ryan, who died last week, can become victims in waters they know well. "This is what he was brought up and raised to do and the fact that he lost his life at it shows you. He would have given you the shirt off his back and smiled at you if you smiled at him," Borries said of the fisherman. Local fishermen say the only good that could come out of an accident like this, is that other boaters and fishermen remember to put safety first every time they put their boat in the water.

The United Nations report on fishing also cited dwindling stocks of fish in some waters as another reason more fishermen are dying on the job because fishing crews are forced to travel farther offshore for longer periods of time.