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What Fishers and Related Fishing Workers Do

Fishers and related fishing workers catch and trap various types of marine life. The fish they catch are for human food, animal feed, bait, and other uses.


Fishers and related fishing workers typically do the following:

To plot the ship's course, fishing boat captains use compasses, charts, and electronic navigational equipment, including global positioning systems (GPS). They also use radar and sonar to avoid obstacles above and below the water and to find fish.

Some fishers work in deep water on large fishing boats that are equipped for long stays at sea. Some process the fish they catch on board and prepare them for sale.

Other fishers work in shallow water on small boats that often have a crew of only one or two members. They might put nets across the mouths of rivers or inlets or pots and traps for fish or shellfish, such as lobsters and crabs, or use dredges to gather other shellfish, such as oysters and scallops.

A small portion of commercial fishing requires diving with diving suits or scuba gear. These divers use spears to catch fish and nets to gather shellfish, sea urchins, abalone, and sponges.

Some fishers harvest marine vegetation rather than fish. They use rakes and hoes to gather Irish moss and kelp.

Although most fishers work in commercial fishing, some in this occupation use their expertise in sport or recreational fishing.

Aquaculture—raising and harvesting fish and other aquatic life under controlled conditions in ponds or confined bodies of water—is a different occupation. For more information, see the profile for farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers.

The following are examples of types of fishers and related fishing workers:

The fishing boat captain plans and oversees the fishing operation, fish to be sought, location of the best fishing grounds, method of capture, duration of the trip, and sale of the catch. Captains direct the fishing operation and record daily activities in the ship’s log. Increasingly, they use the Internet to bypass processors and sell fish directly to consumers, grocery stores, and restaurants.

Fishers that specialize in catching certain species include crabbers and lobster catchers.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition