A Review of Epidemiological Studies in Latin American Fishing

Objectives: Maritime health and safety research primarily comes from developed industrial countries, with sparse contributions from developing countries. The aim of this article is to give an overview of the research in Latin American fishery to point out the need for research and prevention in this part of the world.

Methods: A systematic search was carried out with Medline/PubMed, Google Scholar, Google Academico, SciELO, Pan American Journal of Public Health, Medicina Maritima, and other relevant Spanish- and English-language journals in Latin America (1984–2018). By using the ICD-10 system we were able to identify the most important studies related to the research questions.

Results: A total of 143 scientific articles were identified under the criteria. After duplicates, administrative reports, and conference abstracts were removed, 110 original articles were screened. Of those, 89 peer-reviewed articles on fishermen’s health and safety fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were included in the final evaluation. Brazil accounted for the largest share (49), while eight other countries had one to nine studies (and the rest zero). Study objectives included occupational injuries, cancer, divers’ disease, skin diseases, hearing loss, ergonomic problems, and environmental pollution. Non-fatal and fatal accident studies in fishing were absent.

Conclusion: The lack of occupational injury studies is striking, and it urgently calls for establishing injury registers and monitoring safety in fishing. Among the occupational diseases, pityriasis of the eyes and different types of skin cancer (related ultraviolet radiation exposure) need critical attention and prevention. The scant number of epidemiological studies calls for collaborative international research to establish preventive polices and activities in fishing.