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South Carolina shrimper Wayne Magwood.
Fatality rate: 200 per 100,000

Median wages: $23,600

The most perilous job in the U.S. is held by those who fish the waters in cold-weather states. Freezing water and icy boat decks can lead to horrific accidents, and storms can swamp small fishing vessels, sometimes claiming entire crews.

Compounding the danger is catch rules: By limiting fishing seasons, fisheries management creates a race to fish, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.

That forces fishermen out in dangerous weather and keeps exhausted crews on the water. In Alaska, the season for halibut and crab has been, at times, reduced to just three days.

Even warm-water fishers face hazards. Wayne Magwood has shrimped the waters off South Carolina for 40 years and says the biggest danger is heavy machinery, such as the power winches and cables that haul nets and other equipment.

"My dad taught me to keep my shirt tucked in," says Magwood. "Your clothes can get tangled up and you can get pulled overboard. One guy broke his neck recently."

Magwood also lost a friend when the crewman was answering nature's call and a sudden roll pitched him into the water.

"We brought him up in the net," Magwood said.

NEXT: Logger

Last updated August 20 2010: 9:38 AM ET
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