Career Development

What Does a Fisherman Do?

Find out what a fisherman does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a fisherman.

Fishermen catch fish and other aquatic animals. They may work on boats or in shoreside facilities, using a variety of techniques to trap their prey. Fishermen may specialize in certain types of fish or they may work with all varieties.

Fisherman Job Duties

Fishermen have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Ensuring the safety of fellow crew members by following safety policies and procedures
  • Operating large fishing vessels and other equipment used in commercial fishing operations
  • Maintaining records of catches, sales, and other activities related to fishing operations
  • Inspecting equipment to ensure that it is in good working condition
  • Preparing bait, such as worms or fish eggs, to use during fishing trips
  • Observing weather conditions such as wind speed and direction to determine optimal fishing times
  • Collecting samples of fish populations in order to monitor them for population fluctuations
  • Using equipment such as nets and hooks to catch fish in oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams
  • Cleaning and preparing fish for sale at local markets or to other businesses that will process them for consumption

Fisherman Salary & Outlook

The salary of a fisherman can vary depending on a number of factors, including their level of experience, the size of the boat they work on, and the type of fish they are fishing for.

  • Median Annual Salary: $55,000 ($26.44/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of fishermen is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

The need to control overfishing will continue to support demand for fishermen. In addition, the need to maintain and repair fishing equipment will support some employment growth. However, automation in commercial fishing has reduced the number of workers needed on each boat.

Related: Fisherman Interview Questions and Answers

Fisherman Job Requirements

Fishermen typically need to have the following background:

Education: Fishermen typically need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some fishermen may have a two-year associate degree in fisheries science or marine biology. These degrees provide a strong foundation in biology, chemistry, ecology and mathematics.

Training & Experience: Fishermen typically receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or other experienced fishermen. This training may include how to use specialized equipment, how to clean and prepare fish and how to navigate the waters. Training may also include how to handle the boat and how to navigate the waters.

Fishermen who want to work in a specialized field may receive additional training. For example, a fisherman who wants to work in the crab industry may receive training on how to handle and prepare crabs. A fisherman who wants to work in the salmon industry may receive training on how to handle and prepare salmon.

Certifications & Licenses: Some employers may require employees to pass an industry-specific certification to show their general understanding of the field.

Fisherman Skills

Fishermen need the following skills in order to be successful:

Physical stamina: Fishermen work outdoors and often in extreme weather conditions. They may spend long periods of time on the water or on the shore, and they may need to lift heavy equipment or supplies. Physical stamina is important for maintaining a healthy work routine and for avoiding injury.

Mechanical aptitude: Fishermen use mechanical aptitude to repair and maintain their equipment. They need to understand how engines work, how to read diagrams and how to use tools to fix their equipment. This can help them save money and time by performing their own repairs. It can also help them identify when they need to hire a professional to repair their equipment.

Problem-solving: Fishermen use problem-solving skills to identify and solve issues that arise while on the job. For example, they may need to identify the cause of a leak in a fishing net or find a way to keep fish alive while transporting them. This can help them continue to earn a living and provide for their families.

Teamwork: Fishermen often work in teams to catch large fish. They also work with other fishermen to help each other pull in their catch. This can be a physically demanding task, so teamwork can help them accomplish their goals. Fishermen also work with their team to clean and prepare their catch for consumption.

Adaptability: Fishermen often work in unpredictable environments, so adaptability is an important skill for them to have. They may need to change their plans on the fly if weather conditions change or if they don’t catch as many fish as they expected. They also need to be able to adapt to new technology and methods as they continue to learn about their trade.

Fisherman Work Environment

Fishermen typically work long hours, often more than 12 hours a day, and sometimes for several days in a row. They work in all kinds of weather conditions, including extreme heat and cold, and often in dangerous conditions. Fishermen typically work on commercial fishing boats, which range in size from small, privately owned vessels to large factory ships. Some fishermen are self-employed and own and operate their own boats. Others are employed by commercial fishing companies and work as deckhands, fish processors, or fishmongers. Some fishermen work in the aquaculture industry, raising fish in captivity for commercial purposes.

Fisherman Trends

Here are three trends influencing how fishermen work. Fishermen will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Use of Technology in the Fishing Industry

The fishing industry is rapidly changing, and one of the most significant changes is the increasing use of technology. Fishermen are now using GPS systems to track where they are fishing, and they are also using social media to market their products.

As the use of technology becomes more widespread in the fishing industry, fishermen will need to learn how to use these tools effectively. This includes learning how to use social media to promote their products as well as understanding the benefits of using GPS systems.

Fishing Tourism Will Continue to Grow

Fishing tourism is a growing trend that shows no signs of slowing down. As more and more people become interested in fishing, they will look for opportunities to go on fishing vacations.

This presents an opportunity for fishermen who are able to capitalize on this trend by creating unique experiences for tourists. For example, fishermen can create packages that include not only fishing but also other activities such as hiking or sightseeing.

More Sustainable Practices

As the world becomes increasingly concerned about sustainability, fishermen are beginning to adopt more sustainable practices. This includes using nets that allow fish to escape, as well as using smaller boats that have a lower impact on the environment.

In order to stay competitive, fishermen will need to adapt to this new trend and find ways to be more sustainable. This may involve investing in new equipment or finding new fishing grounds that are less damaging to the environment.

How to Become a Fisherman

A career as a fisherman can be both rewarding and lucrative. However, it’s important to consider all the factors before making the decision to become a fisherman.

One of the most important things to consider is where you want to fish. Different areas have different seasons for fishing, so it’s important to find an area that has a season that matches your availability. You should also consider what type of fishing you want to do. Some areas specialize in certain types of fishing, such as deep-sea or river fishing.

You should also think about how much time you want to spend on the water. Some fishermen spend weeks at a time out at sea, while others only go out for a few days at a time.

Additionally, you should think about the type of boat you want to work on. Some boats are bigger than others, which means they can hold more fish. Additionally, some boats are better suited for certain types of fishing than others.

Advancement Prospects

There are three main types of fishing: commercial, subsistence, and recreational. Most fishermen start out as commercial fishermen. As they gain experience, they may move up to larger vessels and more responsible positions, such as mate or captain. Some commercial fishermen eventually open their own businesses.

Subsistence fishermen fish primarily for their own needs and only sell their catch if they have an excess. Recreational fishermen fish for fun and usually release their catch. Some recreational fishermen eventually become charter boat captains, guiding other people on fishing trips.

Fisherman Job Description Example

We are looking for an experienced fisherman to work on our commercial fishing vessel. The ideal candidate will have experience working on a fishing boat, setting and retrieving nets, and operating fishing equipment. They will also be physically fit and able to work long hours in sometimes difficult conditions. The fisherman will be responsible for helping to catch and process fish according to quotas set by the government. They will also be responsible for helping to maintain the boat and equipment in good working order.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Operate and maintain fishing equipment, including nets, lines, traps, buoys, and other gear
  • Check the condition of the boat and its equipment, and make necessary repairs or replacements
  • Cast nets or set traps to catch fish, crabs, lobsters, and other seafood
  • Sort caught fish by species, size, and weight, and place them in containers with ice for storage
  • Clean and gut fish, and remove their heads, scales, and fins
  • Keep track of the day’s catch, and report it to the captain or owner at the end of the trip
  • Sell the day’s catch to wholesalers, retailers, or directly to consumers
  • Participate in activities to promote safety on the job, such as wearing proper protective gear and following safe work practices
  • Adhere to all local, state, and federal regulations regarding fishing seasons, limits, and sizes
  • May be responsible for baiting hooks, mending nets, and steering the boat
  • In some cases, may also process catches on board, using machines to fillet and package the fish
  • Some fishermen may also be involved in aquaculture, or the farming of fish, shellfish, and seaweed

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Proven experience as a fisherman
  • Excellent physical stamina and strength
  • Knowledge of safety standards and procedures
  • Ability to work long hours in challenging conditions
  • Valid commercial fishing license
  • High school diploma or equivalent

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Mechanical skills for maintaining and repairing equipment
  • First-aid certification
  • Navigational skills
  • Experience with fish finders and other electronic equipment
  • Commercial driving license


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