Every year up to 24,000 commercial fishermen lose their lives around the world - just catching the fish for our supper.

UK fishermen face a fatal accident rate 24 times higher than construction workers, according to a shocking new report published by industry body Seafish to coincide with World Oceans Day this Monday.

Some 256 deaths and thousands of accidents occurred in the UK fishing industry between 1992 and 2006, according to The Price of Fish report. In 2007 alone, more than 300 accidents were reported.

Almost a third of the UK deaths are attributed to fishermen falling overboard, while many others are lost with their vessels.

Seafish, which aims to highlight the human and financial cost of putting fish on our plates, calculates that the UK economy would be £4.7bn worse off without a fishing sector.

Ahead of the Government's Marine Bill, which goes before Parliament this month, Seafish has called on Westminster to put the wellbeing of the industry high on the agenda.

If the UK fish processing sector disappeared, Britain's GDP would fall £4bn and an estimated 120,000 jobs would be lost, it said. The fish catching sector contributed £700m in GDP towards the economy, supporting 28,000 full-time jobs, it added.

Seafish also commissioned a YouGov survey into consumers' views on the fishing industry. Some 83% said sea fishing was an important part of Britain's industrial tradition, while 62% were concerned about the UK's ability to provide seafood for itself.

"These statistics demonstrate that the British public are rightly concerned that this nation must retain the ability to catch, process and distribute seafood products," said Seafish chief executive John Rutherford.

The report is being released on the same day as a new documentary film, The End Of The Line, based on Charles Clover's book. The film aims to educate viewers over the state of global fish stocks.