Nova Scotia’s fishing industry tops provincial list of workplace deaths

By on September 19, 2014


Lunenburg was begun as an agricultural settlement, taking advantage of one of the few pockets of good soil along Nova Scotia's South Shore. However in the 19th century the town evolved as a major centre for the offshore banks fishery, building and manning fishing schooners to exploit the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and the fishing banks off Nova Scotia. Photo by Jeff Vienneau / Wikimedia Commons.
Lunenburg was begun as an agricultural settlement, taking advantage of one of the few pockets of good soil along Nova Scotia’s South Shore. However in the 19th century the town evolved as a major centre for the offshore banks fishery, building and manning fishing schooners to exploit the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and the fishing banks off Nova Scotia. Photo by Jeff Vienneau / Wikimedia Commons.

HALIFAX—Nova Scotia’s best-known industry is also its deadliest.

Stuart MacLean, CEO of the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, says there were 17 workplace deaths in 2013 and eight of them were in the fishery.

The industry accounts for two of the three workplace deaths this year.

Lunenburg politician Suzanne Lohnes-Croft says she worries that fishermen facing a financial crunch may look for shortcuts on safety equipment as a way to keep costs to a minimum.

Stewart Franck, executive director of the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia, says the group is seeing progress since its inception in 2010.

The group’s mandate is to enhance safety in fish harvesting, processing and aquaculture operations.

Franck says the association makes more safety training available by partnering with other organizations to offer discounts.

The association also does public demonstrations and arranges partnerships to provide discounts on safety equipment.