How Much Could Fishermen Potentially Make?

In 2019, more than 50 million Americans went fishing. It is a popular outdoor activity. But not many people know that this hobby can be turned into a job that can generate a good amount of income.

According to Plato, “the sea cures all ailments of man”. The world is trying to cope with the “new normal” because of issues like climate change. It can be a challenge for a lot of people to stay physically, mentally, and financially stable. So, as the cities are getting more crowded, then considering a job in a secluded place would be a good idea. One of those job options is working as a fisherman.

Commercial fishermen primarily work on boats meaning they are semi-isolated from the rest of the world. Sometimes they work between 14 – 20 hours a day. Some fishing jobs can also last for 6 days and even up to 2 months. This could be some kind of a short vacation. 

There are also a number of studies saying that being near a body of water helps in our mental health. So, that’s already a tick in each box for physical and mental health. But how about the financial part? How much do fishermen make? Is it enough to make someone financially stable if they become a fisherman? The simplified answer to those questions is: it depends.

Why You Should Consider This Job

Before we get to the answer to the question, “how much do fishermen make?”, it is important to know about the things that make a fisherman a commercial fisherman. What is the difference between a recreational fisherman and a commercial fisherman? 

How Much Could Fishermen Potentially Make?
A short vacation on the sea, sort of – Source: Wiki

Anyone with fishing gear can fish and make money out of what they catch. Some people go fishing as a form of outdoor activity. Some of them make a little profit out of it, too, but the ones who work for longer hours on longlining boats are different from them. They are the ones who catch all types of marine life – from crabs to lobsters to different kinds of fish – for wider distribution. They are commercial fishermen, and their role in bringing food to our tables has become more essential, especially during these past few years.

Recent studies have shown that 23% of the American population has reportedly cut back on their red meat consumption to help curb the effects of climate change. Because of that, people have chosen to switch to a plant-based diet and it is looking like a mainstream option for many. 

But, of course, not everyone can go vegetarian or vegan overnight, and some people choose to be pescatarians first before giving up meat entirely. They started eating more seafood because it is more nutritious and has fewer health risks than pork and beef. Because of this, the demand for red meat has declined over the past 10 years, and people consuming fish has increased. It’s looking like a career in the fishing industry will be bigger and more profitable soon.

Getting excited but don’t know where to start? We have compared the best job searching sites for you.

Anyone with fishing gear can fish and make money out of what they catch
Fisherman and his catch. Source:

How Much Do Fishermen Make?

So, it’s time to go back to the question: “how much do commercial fishermen make?”. As mentioned above: it depends. It depends on many factors, like the kind of seafood they catch. It is a known fact that some seafood like lobsters, crabs, and salmon are more expensive than the average fish. Fishermen’s earnings also depend on the amount of time they spend catching fish and how much experience they have.

Based on the data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2017, the highest-earning fishermen were able to make an estimated amount of $60,000; the lowest at $18,000, annually. The lowest amount sounds a little underwhelming if you consider the cost of living in the US, to be honest. But, on the other hand, $60,000 is already a proper living wage. These figures can still increase as more Americans consume lesser red meat prompting a bigger demand for seafood.

WATCH VIDEO: ‘Deadliest Catch’ Captains Reveal How Much Money You Can Make As A Fisherman | People NOW | People

How Does One Become A Commercial Fisherman?

At this point, it is also useful to discuss how to become a commercial fisherman. Good news: only a high school diploma is needed to become one. In short: no formal education is needed. Of course, a fishing license is a prerequisite, and on-the-job training will follow. Wow, doesn’t that sound great? For once, a job that doesn’t require years and years of college education and previous related work experience.

Looking for another high pay job that doesn’t require a degree, check out this article.

How Does One Become A Commercial Fisherman?
Fishing as a hobby. Source: Pixabay

Fishing For A Better Future

For some people, a small change is a big step towards a better future. These small steps include making conscious decisions like our career choices. No matter how small our actions are, they will go a long way. Maybe even something like turning that recreational fishing activity into a full-time job in the middle of the calming sea can help. 

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Leonard hails from the Philippines and works as a freelancer, author, poet, and visual artist. He discovered his passion for writing and painting at an early age, leading him to pursue a degree in Mass Communications. He worked at a few places after college before landing what he thought was a "life-changing" writing career. He was also the lead singer and songwriter for a band. His career as an English teacher, poet, and visual artist took him to Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2018. You can see more of his work on Instagram at @anumalei.