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Mental health in the commercial fishing industry: modern uncertainties and traditional risks

King, TJ, Turner, R, Versace, V, Abernethy, K, Kilpatrick, S ORCID: 0000-0003-2473-9814 and Brumby, S 2021 , 'Mental health in the commercial fishing industry: modern uncertainties and traditional risks' , Fish and Fisheries, vol. 22, no. 5 , pp. 1136-1149 , doi: 10.1111/faf.12572.

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Commercial fishers face a range of stressors that impact physical and mental health.However, there is limited research on the level of mental ill-health among fishers andon the nature of stressors that contribute to their psychological distress. This paperfocuses on the experiences of commercial wild-catch fishers and analyses the resultsof an Australian national survey conducted in 2017 (n = 872) (Appendix S1). We firstassess underlying themes in perceived stressors, identifying three distinct categoriestermed ‘traditional risks’, ‘modern uncertainties’ and ‘future concerns’. Second, weassess the level of self-reported psychological distress, demonstrating higher occurrence of high to very high psychological distress among commercial fishers in comparison with the national population. Third, we examine the relationship betweendifferent groups of stressors and psychological distress, finding that stronger perceptions of both ‘traditional risks’ and ‘modern uncertainties’ are associated with greaterlevels of psychological distress among fishers. Third, recognizing diversity within theindustry, we examine differences in these relationships among skippers and crew(work role), and inshore versus offshore fishers (fishing location). Our analysis demonstrates that ‘traditional risks’ and ‘modern uncertainties’ differentially impact onfisher mental health and depend on the individual's role in the industry and their fishing location. The findings suggest that changes to factors associated with modern uncertainty stressors—including government management techniques, red tape, mediarepresentation and political support—could significantly improve mental health in thecommercial fishing sector.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:King, TJ and Turner, R and Versace, V and Abernethy, K and Kilpatrick, S and Brumby, S
Keywords: mental health, fishers, psychological distress, occupational health, fishing location, K10, stressors, work role
Journal or Publication Title: Fish and Fisheries
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN: 1467-2960
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/faf.12572
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© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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