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Your Favorite Hobby Is a Job (With a High Fatality Rate)


On CNN’s list of the ten most dangerous jobs, fishing has the second-highest fatality rate.

(Photo Credit: mikebaird/Flickr)

Some people love to pack up for the weekend and sit at the water’s edge or in a canoe, peacefully holding a fishing pole and waiting for a bite. And some of those folks ponder how lovely it would be to get to go fishing all week and get paid for it.

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Once the fish bites and wakes them from their reverie they certainly must realize that professional fishing is quite dangerous.


On CNN Money‘s list of the ten most dangerous jobs, only two cite over one hundred fatalities per 100,000 workers in 2012. The fishing industry lost 117 per 100,000.

About half of these deaths are caused by boats capsizing or ships sinking due to leaks. When this happens miles out on the open ocean, help is not close enough to save lives.

About 95 percent of the nation’s salmon comes from the cold, icy and isolated waters around Alaska, according to How Stuff Works. And the fishing industry in Alaska is huge, creating about half the jobs available in the private sector.


With all of the dangers associated with fishing, including slippery, icy decks, unpredictable waters and, of course, drowning, a major cause of danger and death has more recently been removed.

Derby systems required fishers to fish in waters until a cap for the season was reached. This created massive competition and fishers would take risks in order to fill their boats with as much fish as humanly possible before the cap was reached. If they stopped fishing and got some sleep, another fishing company would get all of the fish. Once the fish are depleted to the point of the cap, there is no more fishing for the rest of the season. You snooze, you lose. Unfortunately, many fishermen lost their lives in the derby.

The current system gives each fishing company a quota over which they may not take more from the ocean. It is up to the company when to fish for their share.

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