Commercial Fishing

refers to the harvesting of fish, either in whole or in part, for sale, barter or trade, typically for profit


“Some authorities believe that in the earliest times fish were rarely caught because of the inadequacy of fishing gear.”

Food-gathering peoples first obtained fish and shellfish from the shallow water of lakes and along the seashore, from small ponds remaining in inundation areas, from tidal areas, and from small streams. Some authorities believe that in the earliest times fish were rarely caught because of the inadequacy of fishing gear. Shellfish, however, can be gathered easily by hand, and the prehistoric kitchen middens indicate their importance as a food source.


Fishing equipment and methods improved through the centuries, until bulk fisheries were established in Europe. Herring were caught in huge numbers in northern Europe in the Middle Ages. Cod fishery began on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland even before the Italian explorer John Cabot made his voyage there in 1497. Whaling with large fleets began in the 17th century, both in the Atlantic and in the South Pacific.


Commercial fishermen

“The industry, in 2006, also managed to generate over 185 billion dollars in sales and also provide over two million jobs in the United States.”

Commercial fishermen harvest a wide variety of animals, ranging from tuna, cod, carp, and salmon to shrimp, krill, lobster, clams, squid, and crab, in various fisheries for these species. There are large and important fisheries worldwide for various species of fish, mollusks, crustaceans, and echinoderms.

However, a very small number of species support the majority of the world's fisheries of these species are herring, cod, anchovy, tuna, flounder, mullet, squid, shrimp, salmon, crab, lobster, oyster and scallops. All except these last four provided a worldwide catch of well over a million tonnes in 1999, with herring and sardines together providing a catch of over 22 million metric tons in 1999. Many other species are fished in smaller numbers.

The industry, in 2006, also managed to generate over 185 billion dollars in sales and also provide over two million jobs in the United States, according to an economic report released by NOAA's Fisheries Service. Commercial fishing may offer an abundance of jobs, but the pay varies from boat to boat, season to season. Crab fisherman Cade Smith was quoted in an article by Business Week as saying, There was always a top boat where the crew members raked in $50,000 during the three- to five-day king crab season—or $100,000 for the longer snow crab season". That may be true, but there are also the boats who do not do well; Smith said later in the same article that his worst season left him with a loss of 500 dollars.

Many people working in commercial fishing are self-employed, with some or all of their pay dependent on the proceeds from the sale of the fish caught. In the UK, the technical term for this is share fisherman, which refers to anyone working without an employment contract, on a boat manned by more than one person, and relying for their livelihood at least partly on a share of the profits or gross sales of the fishing boat's catch.



Methods and Gear

“Billions of dollars are spent each year in researching/developing new techniques to reduce the injury and even death of unwanted marine animals caught by the fishermen."

Commercial fishing uses many different methods to effectively catch a large variety of species including the use of pole and line, trolling with multiple lines, trawling with large nets, and traps or pots. Sustainability of fisheries is improved by using specific equipment that eliminates or minimizes catching non-targeted species.


Fishing methods vary according to the region, the species being fished for, and the technology available to the fishermen. A commercial fishing enterprise may vary from one man with a small boat with hand-casting nets or a few pot traps, to a huge fleet of trawlers processing tons of fish every day.

Commercial fishing gears in use today include surrounding nets (e.g. purse seine), seine nets (e.g. beach seine), trawls (e.g. bottom trawl), dredges, hooks and lines (e.g. long line and handline), lift nets, gillnets, entangling nets, Pole and Line, and traps

Commercial fishing gear is specifically designed and updated to avoid catching certain species of animal that is unwanted or endangered.

Billions of dollars are spent each year in researching/developing new techniques to reduce the injury and even death of unwanted marine animals caught by the fishermen. In fact, there was a study taken in 2000 on different deterrents and how effective they are at deterring the target species.

The study showed that most auditory deterrents helped prevent whales from being caught while more physical barriers helped prevent birds from getting tangled within the net.


Source: Wikipedia

11 views