Funding will help continue to improve safety in fish harvesting


January 15, 2021

Funding will help continue to improve safety in fish harvesting

St. John’s, NL – WorkplaceNL approved $1.75 million, over five years, to fund the ongoing operations of the Newfoundland and Labrador Fish Harvesting Safety Association (NL-FHSA).

Fish harvesting remains one of the most dangerous occupations in the province.

Through the work of the NL-FHSA and its safety partners, including employers and workers, the lost-time incidence rate in the fish harvesting industry has decreased 33 per cent in the last decade to 1.8 per 100 workers – yet the rate remains higher than the provincial rate of 1.6.

Established in 2012, the NL-FHSA promotes safety education and awareness initiatives in the commercial fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. In the next five years, the NL-FHSA plans to address workplace safety in the industry through: a new fishing vessel safety designate training program; improved safe work practices; more education on personal floatation devices, emergency distress signals and requirements for vessel and equipment inspections; and, more research on safety hazards in fish harvesting.

WorkplaceNL’s Safety Sector Program also supports workplace safety associations in the construction, forestry and manufacturing/fish processing industries. The program provides the framework for industry leaders and experts, representing workers and employers, to work together to improve safety within an industry.

Fish harvesting safety statistics

  • Lost-time injury rate of 1.8 per 100 workers, higher than the provincial rate of 1.6
  • Six fatalities were reported to WorkplaceNL in 2020
  • Fish harvesters are 13 times more likely to lose their life at work than any other occupation in Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Serious injury rate is four times higher than the provincial rate
  • Hearing loss injury rate is twice the provincial rate


The story of loss at sea is a painfully familiar one in many communities throughout the province. The Newfoundland and Labrador Fish Harvesting Safety Association is dedicated to help prevent such tragedies. By working in partnership with our brave women and men at sea as well as employers, the association is equipping fish harvesters with the knowledge and skills they need to make their valuable work as safe as possible.
– Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minster Responsible for WorkplaceNL

The brave women and men who devote their lives to working at sea, do so by putting their lives at risk each and every time they head to the fishing grounds off our shores. I commend the Newfoundland and Labrador Fish Harvesting Safety Association, which for nearly a decade has supported fish harvesters to develop a culture that ensures their safe return home to their families and communities.
– Honourable Elvis Loveless, Minister, Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture

Tragedies at sea, as well as high incidences of serious injury and hearing loss, are stark reminders of the risks that fish harvesters face every day, and a call to action to continue to put safety at the forefront. WorkplaceNL is pleased to continue to support the NL-FHSA, with representatives of industry, workers and employers coming together to find practical ways to improve the safety culture in a dangerous industry.
– Dennis Hogan, CEO, WorkplaceNL

In 2019, the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador generated real wealth across the vast majority of our coastline. The total landed value of the inshore fishery eclipsed $500,000,000 and was the most valuable season ever for inshore harvesters. This speaks to the collective work and achievements of fish harvesters and industry stakeholders and is telling how broadly collective wealth is shared in this province. In 2012, fish harvesters and industry stakeholders in this province made a commitment to Government to address health and safety issues in the fish harvesting industry through the NL-FHSA. This was our commitment and it continues to be our obligation. There are no simple solutions to complex problems that fish harvesters encounter in this industry.  The NL-FHSA’s five-year strategic plan 2021-2025 has been designed to address emerging issues and existing inherent challenges. Implementation of the initiatives will result in improved decision-making and serve to assist fish harvesters in returning safely home to their communities and their families despite the daily adversities they face.
– David Decker, Chair, NL-FHSA

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Related Links

2019 Industry Safety Facts – Fish Harvesting

About WorkplaceNL

Serving approximately 215,000 workers and 18,000 employers, WorkplaceNL administers an employer-funded, no-fault insurance system that promotes safe and healthy workplaces, provides return-to-work programs and offers compensation to injured workers and their dependents.

Media contacts:

Carla Riggs, Director of Communications, WorkplaceNL
709.778.1590 or

Brenda Greenslade, Executive Director, NL-FHSA
709.722.8177 or


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