Fishermen Have Deadliest Job Relative to Salary

Fishermen have the deadliest job relative to their wages in the U.S.

“People who go into fishing don’t really realize what the risks are,” Mark Juma Nahon, a Gulf Fishermen’s Association board member and fisherman with 30 years of experience, said in an interview. “There certainly are a lot of people who die during their time at sea.”

With 116 annual deaths per 100,000 workers, the yearly salary for fishermen and related fishing workers is $27,880, according to a Bloomberg Rankings analysis, which compiled data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that excludes military employees.

Fishermen are followed by logging workers with a salary of $34,510 and about 92 annual deaths, the data showed. Quarry workers, derrick operators and explosives workers ranked third with a salary of $40,600 and about 64 annual deaths.

Juma Nahon said bad weather and handling equipment, particularly for inexperienced fishermen, can be dangerous. He said he once saw a fishing line decapitate a fellow fisherman, leaving the man’s head on the boat while the body went overboard.

The highest paying jobs given the risk of death include firefighters with a salary of $47,730 and about three annual deaths per 100,000 workers. Janitors get a salary of $24,560 and about two annual deaths per 100,000 workers, and first-line supervisors of production and operating workers receive a salary of $56,170 and about five annual deaths per 100,000 employees.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ksenia Galouchko in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at

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