The television show “Deadliest Catch” has been on the air for nearly 12 years now, a pretty remarkable accomplishment when you consider that it is about the crab fishing industry. That doesn’t sound like a topic that would garner popularity over the airwaves, but it has. Over the course of its time on television, “Deadliest Catch” has racked up some impressive ratings and a diligent group of fans.
But here’s the thing about “Deadliest Catch”: it glorifies open-ocean fishing and the fishing industry in general. It makes it seem like a fun, adventurous job — which to a certain degree it may be. However, there are inherent dangers and risks to being a crab fisher or the operator of a fishing vessel that seem to be subverted by this show, even though the dangers are readily apparent during the show. It is the heroism and workmanship that rises to the top of the show, while the dangers are brushed to the side (though still recognized).
Out on the ocean and away from the TV cameras, there are thousands and thousands of people who put their lives at risk every day on fishing vessels. These people are owed basic rights of safety in their workplace, even if the job they perform is a dangerous one. If vessels or ship owners fail to have or provide basic safety to the ship’s workers, the owner could be in legal trouble.
At the Law Offices of John W. Merting, we represent fishermen and other crew members who been affected or injured as a result of dangerous working conditions at sea.