Occupational Safety and Health in U.S. Aquaculture: A Review
Aquaculture encompasses a variety of species in both freshwater and marine settings and can combine elements of agriculture and fishing, two recognized hazardous occupations. Efforts are underway to expand the aquaculture sector in the United States (U.S.), and should be informed by occupational safety and health (OSH) research. The objectives of this review paper are to: i) describe the U.S. aquaculture sector, ii) summarize statistics, peer-reviewed studies, and reports focused on U.S. aquaculture OSH, and iii) describe the policy landscape specific to U.S. aquaculture OSH.
Literature searches employed databases and Internet search engines to identify relevant peer-reviewed articles, reports, and other resources. Due to the expected U.S. expansion of marine aquaculture and paucity of peer-reviewed U.S.-based OSH literature in this sector, additional searches for international research on marine aquaculture were conducted.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated high rates of illness and injury among U.S. aquaculture workers in 2014 and 2015. Peer-reviewed literature on aquaculture OSH identified numerous physical, chemical, and biological OSH risks depending on production methods and settings. Significant policy gaps exist regarding U.S. aquaculture OSH surveillance, reporting, and regulation.
This review identifies a critical need for research, surveillance, and best practices information, specific to the major types of aquaculture in the U.S., to augment and inform worker safety and health efforts in this expanding sector.