New project tackles fishers' health and stress

4 February 2013

Fishing communities in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia will play a vital role in a project aiming to help fishers stay healthy and handle stress.

Researchers from Deakin University's Alfred Deakin Research Institute, the University of Tasmania and the University of Sydney are starting a $102,000 study funded through the Australian Government's Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, which will help fishing industry organisations draw on the lessons learned from farming organisations to develop health programs and services for fishers.

ADRI Visiting Fellow and lead researcher, Professor Sue Kilpatrick, from the University of Tasmania said like farmers, fishers were affected by a number of factors which affected their overall wellbeing.

"Fishers like farmers have to contend with government policies and fluctuating markets as they try to manage their business," she said.

"They too work in a physically demanding occupation which uses dangerous machinery but unlike farmers they have to juggle relationships on shore with crew dynamics offshore while facing the dangers of working at sea.

"There is scope for fishing organisations to learn from the way farming organisations have worked with programs likebeyondblue and Mensheds to develop programs which their members found useful."

Professor Kilpatrick said the research team would work with four fishing communities from Port Phillip/Westernport and Lakes Entrance in Victoria; Bundaberg in Queensland and Cockburn Sound in WA.

"With the help of fishers in those communities we will develop and trial community health plans that include information sources, programs and services which match the way fishers prefer to get their health information and the kinds of activities and services which they are comfortable accessing," she said.

"The plans will draw on the experiences, programs and information the farmers found useful, but are tailored to the unique stressors fishers face.

"Ultimately the material developed for the project will be able to be used by the fishing industry to help other fishing communities develop their own approach to this important issue."


Media contact

Rebecca Tucker
Media and Corporate Communications
03 5227 8568, 0418 979 134
Email Rebecca

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