Newport, Oregon: Commercial Fishing Industry – Personal Injury at Sea – Jones Act Seamen
Oregon, located on the central Oregon coast, has a number of commercial fisheries, including Dungeness crab, pink shrimp, Pacific whiting, albacore tuna, and various species of rockfish and salmon. Salmon are typically caught by trolling or gillnetting. The whiting is caught by large factory trawlers and processed on board. In Newport last year, 80.2 million pounds of seafood was landed by commercial fishers, for a total of $37.2 million.
Newport is one of the largest commercial fishing ports on the Oregon coast and is the homeport of many individual fishers and their families, as well as some larger companies. The majority of the commercial fishing fleet there are:
- Gillnetters (salmon, sturgeon, shad, smelt)
- Longliners (sablefish, halibut), purse seiners (sardines, anchovies, mackerel)
- Salmon trollers (chinook salmon, other salmon)
- Tuna trollers (young albacore tuna)
- Trappers (crab, sablefish)
- Trawlers (bottomfish: rockfish, sablefish, cod, flounder, sole, perch; midwater fish: Pacific whiting; shrimp).
In 2012, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 80.2 million pounds of seafood was landed at Newport, at a value of $37.2 million. The Newport region is primarily focused on fishing, whether commercial or recreational, and many of the jobs there are related to the commercial fishing industry. Tourism and destination resort vacations are also a large part of the economy. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is located in Newport, and lately, Newport has been growing as a science and research center. The Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center, a premier marine research facility, is located in Newport, and NOAA moved its research vessel base to Newport in 2011.
Fishers work hard, risking life and limb, to earn their living. While fishers can make more in a good year, according to the latest published Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010), the national median annual wage for fishers was $25,590, which averages to $12.30 per hour. At these wages, if you are ill or injured while fishing, affording medical care on your own is a challenge at best. Fortunately, commercial fishers and other seamen are protected by general maritime law and the Jones Act. Here at Stacey & Jacobsen, LLP, maritime and Jones Act law is what we do every day, always for the injured fisher, and never for the employer or insurance agency.
The attorneys at Stacey & Jacobsen, LLP have extensive backgrounds in the fishing industry, so they understand firsthand that fishing is hard work and dangerous. Injuries are not uncommon, whether because of an unseaworthy vessel condition or an accident from other reasons. Either way, if you are injured while fishing out of Newport or anywhere else on the coast or Columbia River, you’ll want to make certain of your rights and fair treatment by your employer.
With over 75 years of combined maritime law experience, the attorneys at Stacey & Jacobsen, LLP can answer your questions and help you understand how you are protected under the general maritime law and the Jones Act. If needed, we have the resources and talent to protect you in court.