By Tanya King
Senior Lecturer In Anthropology, Deakin University
In 2017 many fishers were invited to complete a survey on health, wellbeing, safety and resilience, as part of the FRDC-funded project, Sustainable Fishing Families. The report of this project has recently been released and the results are confronting, highlighting poor health outcomes in areas of mental health, general bodily pain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Stress was a key concern of industry members who responded to the survey, who experienced significantly higher levels of ‘high’ and ‘very high’ psychological distress than the Australian population as a whole.
The top sources of stress reported by respondents was related to uncertainty about future changes to government regulations, government regulations on access to fishing, and red tape (>50% responses). Negative media and poor public image were also significant sources of stress (>30% responses). In contrast, factors such as isolation, physical danger of fishing, climate change, and succession were not perceived to be associated with stress.
The report can be accessed here.