Work Tasks

FISHERS find and catch fish. Commercial fishing requires a crew with specialized skills including a captain or skipper, a first mate and sometimes a second mate, a boatswain, and deckhands. Captains plan and oversee the fishing operation, including the kind of fish to look for, best fishing grounds, method of capture, duration of the trip, and sale of the catch. First mates direct the fishing operations and sailing responsibilities of the deckhands. Boatswains direct the deckhands as they carry out the sailing and fishing operations. Captains ensure the fishing vessel is in good condition; oversee the purchase of supplies, gear, and equipment; and hire crew and assign their duties.

Salary, Size & Growth

Entry Requirements

FISHERS generally acquire their skills on the job; many as members of families involved in fishing activities. No formal academic requirements exist. Operators of large commercial fishing vessels are required to complete a Coast Guard-approved training course. Students can enroll in 2-year vocational technical programs offered by secondary schools. Some community colleges and universities offer fishery technology and related programs that include courses in seamanship, vessel operations, marine safety, navigation, vessel repair and maintenance, health emergencies, and fishing gear technology. The fishing crew on boats of at least 100 tons may need a merchant mariner's document.