2024 DATES COMING SOON!  •  Lumen Field Event Center  •  Seattle, WA

Agenda Session

Mental Health for Commercial Fishermen: Strategies for Addressing Stress on the Water

Nov 09 2023

11:30 AM - 12:15 PM PST

Moderator: Leann Fay, PhD. Executive Director, Alaska Marine Safety Education Association

Stress has always been a factor in the commercial fishing industry with fishermen facing unique stressors that are not always present in other industries. These stressors can include finances, finding competent crew, weather, boat problems, lack of sleep, chronic pain, or trauma.

Today though, fishermen also face the uncertainty of climate change on fisheries, pandemics, inflation, rising political tensions, and fish management decisions. It can prove difficult to face all these challenges while being isolated in high-stress environments with limited access to physical or mental health resources. 

How are fishermen dealing with all of these issues on a day-to-day basis? What does it mean to identify these distinct stressors, to acknowledge a traumatic event, or to recognize the signs of a crisis on your boat? What are some of the tools that fishermen can utilize to help navigate these challenges? A panel of experts will explore and answer these questions while also providing insights when it comes to: 

• Stress management methods while on the water and back on shore.

• Identifying symptoms of stress overload and when you should reach out for help.

• Providing resources that are available for short and long-term stress factors, substance abuse, immediate crisis, etc.

Generations of fishermen have indirectly dealt with mental health challenges, but a new generation wants and needs to see these issues explored in a much more direct manner. Join the conversation to help get fishermen of all eras on the path of positive mental health & wellness while also learning about specific tools and methods that can alleviate and address stressors.

Check out the exclusive National Fishermen article here to learn more about the key strategies commercial fishermen can use to help address their mental health.


State of Alaska Department of Health/ Division of Public Health/Project Gabe

- RN, BSN, MAR, Public Health Nurse

F/V Apollo

- longliner and troller

University of Washington

- Assistant professor & Industrial Hygiene Program Director

University of Alaska Fairbanks

- Assistant Professor

Alaska Marine Safety Education Association

- Executive Director

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