Download the Insight report on safety in the fishing industry

Executive summary

Fishing is one of the world’s most dangerous occupations. For nearly 20 years the estimate of 24,000 fatalities per year has been mentioned in conference publications, industry guidelines, and other documents. This fatality figure is also usually described as an underestimate, due to inaccurate reporting in the developing world.

Most of the world’s 3.8 million fishing vessels and 36 million full and part time fishers operate from Asia, and the majority of the deaths also occur in that region.

Lloyd's Register Foundation identified fishing as a safety challenge in its Insight report on global safety challenges, in 2017. Since then the Foundation has investigated further to better understand the nature of the safety challenge in the fishing industry. It has drawn on expert knowledge and opinion to understand what activity is already underway to improve fishing safety, what is further needed, and to explore if there is a unique role for the Foundation in line with its charitable mission.

The investigation has focused on establishing:

  • the countries or locations where the most fatalities are occurring
  • the predominant causes of accidents in these countries
  • the practical measure(s) which could save the most lives.

This Insight report on safety in the fishing industry presents the key findings. These are:

  • Fatality causes differ in the developed and developing worlds and are generally considered to be related to the economic status, value placed on life, and social outlook of the fishers in the respective countries.