What Does a Professional Fisherman Do?

K. Kinsella

A professional fisherman is someone who catches fish and other types of marine life to generate income, rather than for recreational purposes. Many of these individuals catch fish that is then sold to food retailers. In other instances, a professional fisherman may be classified as an athlete since some of these individuals earn money through participating in sporting contests.

A professional fisherman must be familiar with the tools of the trade, and how to use them.
A professional fisherman must be familiar with the tools of the trade, and how to use them.

Some fishermen are self-employed individuals who catch fish from the shoreline or piers with the aid of rods and lines. These individuals often sell what they catch to local restaurants or retail stores. Harvests are usually seasonal and many of these self-employed individuals perform other types of work during the remainder of the year.

A commercial fishing boat.
A commercial fishing boat.

In many instances, a professional fisherman uses nets, cages or fishing lines to try and catch marine life or fish that live in deep lakes and other bodies of water. Some of these people are self-employed individuals who operate small craft while others are people who work as crew members on major fishing vessels that are equipped with storage facilities which means the boats can remain at sea for many months. Typically, fishermen are paid based upon the size of their catch and crew members of large vessels normally receive a certain percentage of the money that the sale of the season's catch generates.

Within the fishing industry, a professional fisherman may take on a variety of different roles. In many countries, vessels must have licensed or certified captains. These individuals normally have to pass a licensing examination that tests their knowledge of marine laws, safety regulations and fishing techniques. Many boats have engineers who ensure that fishing apparatus such as pulleys, anchors and cage winches are in working order. General crew members may spend some time assisting the captain with navigation or performing on-board maintenance duties but typically are primarily concerned with baiting cages, deploying buoys and unloading fish, crabs and other types of animals into storage tanks.

Sports resorts located in coastal regions or close to in-land bodies of water sometimes organize fishing contests that attract professional fishermen. At small events, cash prizes are awarded to those catching the largest fish; amateur enthusiasts are often able to compete alongside people who make a living from regularly winning such events. Larger fishing events are sometimes televised and only prominent fishermen can participate in these contests. In such instances, entrants often receive an appearance fee which means that a professional fisherman can make money from such an event even if he or she fails to win a prize.

A professional fisherman catches fish to generate income.
A professional fisherman catches fish to generate income.

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