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Staying safe during summer flounder season along Atlantic Coast

Commercial fishermen along the East Coast are in the midst of summer flounder season. Found along the Atlantic Coast from Nova Scotia to Florida, the not-so-pretty-yet-tasty fish continues to have a great demand and a place in the market, despite the current COVID-19 crisis. The mid-Atlantic region is where the fish is most commonly found in the U.S.

The states where commercial fishermen catch the most abundant number of summer flounder include North Carolina, Virginia, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. Usually caught in bottom otter trawls, pound nets and gillnets, summer flounder remain among the most sought after commercial and recreational fish on the Atlantic Coast.

Vessel disasters caused three deaths in five years

The commercial fishing industry is one of the most dangerous for workers. Serious injuries and fatalities are not uncommon among people who make their living working at sea. The summer flounder fishing fleet is no exception. Of the 60 total deaths recorded within the East Coast’s fishing industry from 2010 to 2014, the summer flounder, scup and black sea bass fleet accounted for three of the fatalities.

Each of the three deaths in this fishing feet occurred as a result of vessel disasters. A vessel disaster includes sinkings, capsizings, groundings, fires as well as situations that force the abandonment of a ship.

Safety matters always remain a priority within the commercial fishing industry. Improved training, the proper handling of equipment as well as regular use a life jacket are among the measures that fleets can take to minimize injuries and deaths.