How to Become a Fisherman

Fishing is an essential process that contributes to human food consumption and other uses. Fishermen are trained workers who catch and trap a variety of fish, shellfish, and other marine and freshwater life for many different reasons.

What does a fisherman do?

Fishermen search and catch fish and other organisms in a variety of bodies of water such as oceans, lakes, rivers, and ponds. They determine the type of fish to be caught and seek out prospective locations. They determine the best tools and methods to use, the duration of the trips, and the price of their catch. Fishermen use a variety of equipment such as fishing poles of a variety of sizes, nets, spears, hooks, and shovels. They also use ice and salt to transport the items they catch. Many fishermen travel on commercial fishing vessels hundreds of miles from shore to catch desired fish. Fishermen on large fishing vessels that travel into deep water often use advanced technological equipment. Some work on small boats in shallow water.

What kind of training does a fisherman need?

Fishermen usually gain their skills on the job and there are no formal training requirements. Some complete vocational and technical programs or associate degrees to become competitive in the field. They complete courses in marine safety, vessel operations, seamanship, navigation, fishing gear technology, and vessel repair and maintenance. Many fishermen start out as deckhands to gain practical experience and start building their fishing skills. Fishermen employed by large commercial fishing vessels must complete a training course that is approved by the Coast Guard. Fishermen usually need a fishing permit to fish in any body of water. States distribute permits and specify the season fishing is permitted, the type of fish that can be caught, and the approved fishing gear.

What are the prospects for a career as a fisherman?

Employment of fishermen is expected to decline rapidly, decreasing 16% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The decrease in fish stocks and increased regulations that reduce fishing will contribute to the job decline.

Job prospects are expected to be fair because there will be some job openings from the need to replace fishermen who retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do fishermen make?

As of November 2009, the average annual fisherman salary is $37,000; average annual fisherman salaries vary greatly on education, experience, location, industry, company, and benefits (2).

A career as a fisherman is a great choice for people with a strong interest in fishing for a variety of marine and freshwater life. Fishermen must be in good general health and have good physical strength. Mechanical aptitude, good coordination, patience, and determination are desirable characteristics. Fishermen must be able to work in difficult and sometimes dangerous situations and be able to be away from home for long periods of time. They must also be able to effectively work as part of a team.

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