Admiralty Maritime:

Commercial Fishermen and Crabbers

Commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs available today. Long hours, dangerous equipment and diminished resources have put an extra strain on commercial tuna skippers, crabbers and groundfish operators. Unfortunately, these dangerous conditions can lead to accidents and even death.

Out of all commercial fishermen, crabbers may face the most difficult conditions in their line of work. The majority of crabber injuries stem from:

  • Improperly spliced lines
  • Crewmen crushed by pots
  • Hands, arms and fingers injured in bait choppers
  • Malfunctioning power blocks
  • Sunken boats

In addition, many commercial fishermen injuries are caused by unsafe weather conditions, negligent crew, unseaworthiness, malfunctioning equipment and poor vessel maintenance.

Commercial fishermen are not protected by workers’ compensation laws. However, they do have recourse under the Jones Act following an injury or death at sea. Injured professional fishermen can recover lost wages and medical expenses. Also, family members can pursue a Jones Act claim on behalf of a fisherman who was killed on the job.