ROME - Thousands of people are killed every year because of incompetence and human error while fishing at sea, which could make it the most dangerous job in the world, a UN agency says.

The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said an estimated 24,000 people die every year out of a total of about 15 million workers engaged in full-time marine fishing.

The death rate is higher than the average rate for other jobs considered the most dangerous in the world, including quarrying, logging and coalmining, the agency said in its report on the state of world fisheries.

The agency said human error, negligence and incompetence are estimated to be the causes of 80 per cent of accidents. It also blames competition and the poor quality of many fishing vessels.

- AP