Project focused on aquaculture workforce underway
December 22, 2017
By Liza Mayer
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations is funding a project that will look at improving the wellbeing of the most valuable asset in aquaculture — the workforce.
A research team from the University of Stirling in Scotland is focusing on global aquaculture and fish farming occupational health and safety (OSH) issues that affect the world’s 18 million aquaculture workers.
The study’s findings will help aquaculture farmers when introducing or improving OSH risk-management measures in their farms.
The study team says occupational diseases are generally under-reported across the world and aquaculture presents many threats to health.
Among those threats are those linked to heat and cold, dehydration, work-related neck and upper limb disorders, respiratory problems, allergies, parasites, bacteria from feed, skin issues, and hazards related to ingestion and inhalation. Additional problems have emerged connected to the impact of stress, long hours, evening and night shifts and lone working.
The report covers diving, construction works – such as the establishment of stock-holding units like ponds, racks and cages – as well as harvesting, processing, and transport of produce.
The study is global in scope, from Africa to Australasia, and Europe to North America. It follows a decision by the FAO Committee on Fisheries to prioritize occupational safety and health (OSH) issues in aquaculture.
“Our report aims to set out what works, and what does not, on aquaculture occupational health and safety across the globe and focus on how to improve standards and reduce risks,” stresses project lead, Professor Andrew Watterson of Stirling.
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