Is It Worth It To Become A Commercial Fisherman?

Is It Worth It To Become A Commercial Fisherman main

Everybody these days knows how hard it is to be a fisherman. That’s no secret. And with dwindling fish stocks all over the world, it seems like commercial fishing’s days are numbered. If you have been wondering if you should be a commercial fisherman, people are probably going to think you’re crazy.

And they would be right, however that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good idea or that the business end of it can’t be viable.

There is a movement toward sustainable fishing and away from practices that put a strain on local fisheries. That means that the big guys are finding it hard to make money and the little commercial fisherman can possibly find some inroads into the industry.

In this article, I will go over some of the things to think about if you want to become a fisherman so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth it.

What’s your overhead going to be?

One of the biggest issues with commercial fishing isn’t actually the decreasing number of fish in the sea. It’s that the cost to operate your boat is so expensive that margins are razor thin.

From fuel, to maintenance, to insurance, the costs are very high. And then add in the cost of mooring your boat when you are not at sea. If you have a bad day on the water with few fish to show for your effort, then it can end up as a loss when all the costs are factored in.

You’ll have to be creative to cut those costs down to increase your profit margins. For instance, you can save on fuel by buying red diesel from a supplier like Beesley Fuel Supplier. And doing maintenance yourself on the boat will cut down quite a bit on your expense if you can avoid hiring a mechanic for every time your engine has problems.

Think outside the box

There is a new way to be making money by fishing these days. Instead of trying to catch as much of a specific fish as possible and selling to wholesalers, you can sell directly to your customers now.

Many fisherman go out and catch whatever is in abundance at the time and then sell to restaurants in their area. This dramatically raises your profits since you aren’t wasting fuel chasing a particular species. There are many types of fish that aren’t as well known as cod or salmon that restaurateurs are eager to put on the menu. It looks good to have sustainable fish from a marketing perspective, and the fact that it is fresh is what any chef would love to cook with.

Is It Worth It To Become A Commercial Fisherman fishing

Another way to increase profit is to sell in a sort of community supported way. That is, sell subscriptions to consumers who then receive a weekly box of whatever the catch was. In the city of Gloucester in Massachusetts, the fishermen are doing exactly that. It works just like a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) system.

A huge benefit to this is that you get paid in advance through the membership fees so you can operate with much better cash flow. And, once again, you are providing what you actually catch for people that appreciate the sustainability and the freshness of the fish.

Do you need training?

Hopefully, you already know your way around a boat and how to actually fish. You should try to work on a fishing boat for a while to see if it is a good fit and to acquire the skills needed to work in this field. Even working on a big trawler is a good way to get experience even though you won’t likely be doing that kind of fishing.

You will need to get a captain’s license to own and operate your vessel. In addition, you should definitely learn some safety measures as being a fisherman can be quite dangerous. It is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.

Use technology

Increased efficiency means increased profits so make sure that you set up your vessel with the latest in fish finding technology. This will make sure that you are not wasting fuel chasing fish and know exactly where to look.

You’ll also save fuel by using different technologies to get the most out of your engine and to make sure you are taking the fastest route to your destination.

Then, when on land, you should be using social media to drum up a solid customer base so you always have work.


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