Oystermen, Shrimpers, Crabbers and Other Offshore Workers
Seafood is enjoyed by diners across the globe, involving both nutritional value as well as pleasurable taste. Many different types of seafood are prepared in a variety of ways, whether eaten raw, baked, fried, or broiled. Given the nature of the dishes, seafood consumption relies completely on the commercial fishing industry, responsible for the capture or farming of different forms of seafood. These men and women work to provide high quality products for wholesale buyers and distributors, sometimes at great risk for themselves.
- Oystermen: Oysters are shellfish consumed as a delicacy by humans. Also used for harvesting pearls, oysters are most commonly farmed on the shores of the ocean by oystermen. Farming oysters for consumption and pearl harvesting can take place in three ways—all three involving the initial cultivation of the oyster to the size of a spat. The three methods include dredging, cages, or cultches.
- Shrimpers: Much like oysters, shrimp can be farmed as well. Shrimp farming involves three elements of a supply chain: hatcheries, nurseries, and grow-outs. Shrimp fishery is also a major commercial fishing industry, bringing in almost 3.5 tons of shrimp in every year. However, the industry has been controversial in some circles because of the accidental capture of protected sea turtles. Shrimping offshore is also a high-risk job, as waters can become uneasy during fishing season.
- Crabbers: Many different species of crab are enjoyed as a delicacy, including red king crab, blue king crab, snow crab, bairdi crab, and more. Crabbing is known as one of the most dangerous jobs to perform as ships have capsized due to heavy loads, workers have been injured by slipping or falling overboard, and the most popular work season happens during winter and hurricane season.
A maritime employee working as a member of the crew of a vessel in navigation that is harvesting shellfish, shrimping, or engaged in other commercial fishing work is considered a Jones Act seaman under federal maritime law. If you or someone you know has been injured while working in the shellfish industry, you may have the right to file a lawsuit to recover monetary damages.
Other industries that share the same dangers as shrimping and crabbing include commercial fishing for salmon, tuna, lobster, and clams. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 116 worker deaths in the fishing industry per 100,000 workers, making commercial fishing easily the most dangerous job in the country. While efforts are being made to increase training and safety, the dangers still exist; as long as that is true, Arnold & Itkin LLP is here to represent injured workers and their families.