Sustainable Fishing Families: Developing industry human capital through health, wellbeing, safety and resilience

Project Number:



Deakin University Geelong Waterfront Campus

Principal Investigator:

Tanya King

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:




Sustainable Fishing Families: Developing Industry Human Capital through Health, Wellbeing, Safety and Resilience

Final Report
Author(s):Tanya J. King, Kirsten Abernethy, Susan Brumby, Tracey Hatherell, Sue Kilpatrick, Katarina Munksgaard & Rachel Turner
Date Published:January 2019
This project conducted the first national survey of the health, safety and wellbeing of the Australian professional fishing industry in 2017. The results of the survey provide a baseline for the state of the wild-catch industry members across a range of indicators, including reported physical and mental health, factors affecting health and safety, factors affecting levels of stress, health and safety behaviours, and access to health services and information.
The project also conducted and evaluated an intensive pilot program on health, safety and wellbeing tailored specifically for fishing families. The program was modelled on an existing and highly successful program with farming families, Sustainable Farm FamiliesTM developed and delivered by the National Centre for Farmer Health, at the Western District Health Service, Victoria. The materials and presentations were reviewed and modified to reflect the specific strengths and challenges of the fishing industry. For the first time, this award-winning program is now available for use by fishing communities across the country.


1. To improve the health and wellbeing of fishing families by promoting safer and healthier work practices

2. To develop strategies to inform fisher families of appropriate physical and mental health care programs and information, including strategies to address barriers to uptake

3. To provide rigorous research that will raise the profile of the health issues and needs of Australian fishing families, and inform government, industry and health services of specific health issues and needs of, and effective support pathways for, fishing families as distinct from farming families.

4. To develop a targeted, industry-led program that will address the health issues and needs of fishing families based on the proven Sustainable Farm FamiliesTM protocol