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Risks, Dangers, and Rewards in the Nova Scotia Offshore Fishery

Risks, Dangers, and Rewards in the Nova Scotia Offshore Fishery

Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Risks, Dangers, and Rewards in the Nova Scotia Offshore Fishery
    Book Description:

    According to Labour Canada, workers in the offshore fishery are more likely to be injured than workers in mining, construction, or forestry. Yet until recently these casualties at sea have been largely ignored by government and labour organizations. Risks, Dangers, and Rewards in the Nova Scotia Offshore Fishery describes the hidden cost paid by workers in the Nova Scotia offshore fishery, a cost measured not in dollars and cents but in deaths and injuries.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6545-6
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Figures and Tables
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 3-13)

    Risks, Dangers, and Rewardsexamines the working conditions of Nova Scotia deep sea fishers and the high price they pay for employment: a price measured not in dollars and cents, but in deaths and injuries sustained by workers in the industry. When I began this research in 1986, 14,859 licensed fishers laboured in the harvesting sector,¹ and about half (7,734) of these men worked full time in the deep sea sector (Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 1991, 111-13). In 1987, the Atlantic Canada fishery, one of the world’s most productive, accounted for approximately 3 percent of the world's total...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Theoretical Considerations
    (pp. 14-24)

    Industrial sociology, especially work on labour process following the work by Braverman (1975), focuses mainly on the male industrial workforce in manufacturing and primary industries (e.g., Burawoy 1972; Clement 1981). The general argument in these studies focuses on the labour process per se, and not on other factors relevant to studying the work experience such as marital status, parental status, and ethnicity (Zimbalist 1979; Burawoy 1985). Feminists and others have sharply criticized this restricted viewpoint, arguing that both the theory of the division of labour (Barrett 1980; Beechey 1987) and empirical research (Armstrong and Armstrong 1978; Connolly 1978; Lacasse 1970)...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Working Conditions
    (pp. 25-48)

    Fishing enterprises do not operate in a vacuum. They are integrated into the broader socio-economic environment that affects the working conditions of fishers both directly and indirectly. Of the many factors involved, this discussion focuses on a few that have been historically significant for the Nova Scotia fishery: resource management policies (enterprise allocations), market pressures (e.g., to increase quality), labour legislation (the Nova ScotiaTrade Union Act), and socio-economic characteristics of fishers' home communities (e.g., work opportunities for wives).

    Working conditions consist of the circumstances under which workers labour; job satisfaction consists of the attitudes and feelings of workers toward...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR The Social Context: Wives and Families
    (pp. 49-65)

    The deep sea fisheries feature a rhythm of ten days of work at sea punctuated by forty-eight hours of leisure on shore.¹ This chapter examines the extraordinary pressures on deep sea fishers’ households, and how a woman’s life can be dominated by the nature of her husband’s work in the deep sea fisheries. This “open letter” published inNational Fisherman,a magazine widely read in North American fishing communities, speaks to these problems:

    There’s more to the fishing industry than your magazine prints. These touch guys are real people with real families, and more than a few have serious drinking,...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Job Satisfaction
    (pp. 66-88)

    What do fishers think about their jobs and how do they describe their working conditions?¹ Why do these men fish and what is it about this job that keeps them going back? Many fishers find it difficult to answer these questions:

    Today is the 21st, my future is up to the 22nd. You live day to day. Anybody likes laying around for so long, but after a couple of weeks it gets pretty monotonous. I gotta get back at sea. It gets in your blood the same as a poker game, I guess. Same as anything else, it just gets...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Trading Off Wages and Nonmonetary Benefits
    (pp. 89-105)

    Fishers understand the trade-offs they make between their wages and the nonmonetary benefits of their job. Earnings and making a good living remained very important to most fishers interviewed. Time and time again they emphasized that few jobs open to men with little education paid so well. (See chapter i for the income ranges of those surveyed.) They recognized that the deep sea fishery, with its long working hours in poor working conditions, exemplified a young man's job. Fishers discussed at length their actual working conditions on board the vessels. They accepted the risks involved in their work. Many compared...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN Counting the Dangers
    (pp. 106-127)

    We do not know how many men are killed or injured annually in the deep sea fishery. Statistics generated by government agencies such as the Nova Scotia Workers’ Compensation Board or Marine Casualty Investigations have inherent biases that only allow us to estimate morbidity and mortality rates.¹ In this chapter I describe each of these agencies and their mandates, then discuss fishers’ morbidity and mortality patterns generated from the agencies’ data and additional material derived from my 1986 and 1987 surveys.

    Both employers’ and workers’ costs can be measured using statistics and reports from state agencies. Workers’ costs can be...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT The Stress and Strain of Fishing
    (pp. 128-141)

    This chapter examines fishers’ general health. In the previous chapter, I documented the large number of accidents and injuries for Nova Scotia deep sea fishers, especially among the crew who work in the most dangerous areas of the vessels - on the deck and in the fishrooms. Accidents do not occur randomly. The general health of workers alters the way they respond to dangerous situations. Stress and fatigue increase accident rates; healthy workers appear to be more capable of dealing with stress and more likely to avoid injury than their unhealthy counterparts. If fishers have more control over the work...

  13. CHAPTER NINE Safety Awareness
    (pp. 142-155)

    In order to change fishers’ approach to safety and to develop effective educational and training programs, those involved must understand fishers’ current attitudes to safety issues and how they fit into the fishers’ subculture. In the preceding chapters I have argued that fishers’ working conditions, attitudes to their work, experience, family situations, physical and mental health, and perceptions of risks and danger on the job all influence their level of safety. This chapter examines fishers’ current levels of satisfaction with safety, describes what factors underlie those attitudes, and discusses how awareness of safety issues can be enhanced.

    How satisfied are...

  14. CHAPTER TEN Toward a Safer Fishery
    (pp. 156-160)

    The deep sea fishery works far out of the sight of land. Each large fishing vessel must be a self-contained and self-sustaining harvester of fish. Over the last decade technological improvements such as fish finders, de-icers, and boxing of fish have enhanced the ability of fishers to find, catch, and store fish. These technological advances mean better-quality fish, better dockside prices, and shorter trips. But well-designed and technologically advanced equipment should take safety and ergonomic factors, as well as economic ones, into account. A more efficient and safer workplace should in turn minimize accidents and decrease physical and economic risks....

  15. Notes
    (pp. 161-172)
  16. Glossary
    (pp. 173-176)
  17. References
    (pp. 177-188)
  18. Index
    (pp. 189-192)