Seafood Industry Australia, the peak-body representing the Australian seafood industry, has urged fishers to ask one another “R U OK?” today as part of R U OK? Day.
It's a little known fact that Australia’s fishers experience twice the base-rate of psychological stress of any other sector.
Despite this alarming statistic there are no industry specific mental health programs available to fishers, like there are for other sectors like farming and building.
Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) CEO Jane Lovell said that significant contributing factors to these mental health problems are ongoing attacks against fisheries and the continued threat of reduced resource access.
Maritime anthropologist Dr Tanya King has studied the high rate of mental health problems among Australia’s fishers and said chronic job insecurity has led to high rates of suicide among fishers.
"It's certainly on par, and potentially worse, than the situation facing farmers in this country," said King.
"The situation for fisherman has been virtually ignored. What's strikingly different for fisherman is that they can't privately own the resource that they work, because the ocean is a public resource which is managed by the government.”
If you, or someone you know, is seeking crisis support please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.