Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1977;3(3):154-159    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.2778

Work stress in long-line bank fishing.

by Rodahl K, Vokac Z

The circulatory strain on three Faroe Island and two Norwegian fishermen during long-line bank fishing was assessed by the computerized analysis of their heart rates continuously recorded by portable tape recorders. The urinary excretion of catecholamines was assayed as an indicator of stress response. The average work load of the three Faroe Island deckhands was rather moderate; it corresponded to 26--33% of the heart rate reserve (HRR). However, heart rates higher than 50% of the HRR (9--18 min/24 H) as well as peak heart rates up to 165 beats/min indicated periods of intense physical strain, especially when the fish were being unhooked, an operation which, as a rule, cannot be endured for more than about 25 min at a time and which necessitates a work schedule of job rotation. These observations were confirmed by the findings made on board the Norwegian vessel. The urinary catecholamine excretion rates were lower than those of coastal fishermen and of the same order of magnitude as the excretion rates observed in trawler fishermen. It is concluded that, contrary to general belief, bank fishing need not be unsuitable for older fishermen, provided an effective system of job rotation is practiced and the size of the crew is large enough to allow for an adequate amount of sleep even during periods of exceptionally good fishing.