4 Common Methods Used in Commercial Fisheries

Commercial Fisheries

Commercial fishing is a major global industry. In the United States alone, commercial fisheries create 1.8 million jobs a year, while generating more than $255 billion in sales. As fresh, quality seafood is always in high demand, enterprising commercial fishermen can stand to turn tidy profits with the right strategy. Though part of the allure of commercial or industrial fishing is getting to make angling your profession, it does differ quite a bit from getting on the lake on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Catching a high volume of fish often means employing innovative fishing techniques, as well as some tried and true methods. If you are looking to launch a career in commercial fishing, you are going to want to have a thorough understanding of the various ways in which you can catch fish.

Fishing with Nets in Commercial Fisheries

Next to the traditional rod and reel, using a net to catch fish is a practice that dates back hundreds of years. This is for good reason, as even today nets are used to catch roughly 80 percent of all fish sold commercially. There are a couple of different types of netting methods, however, that commercial fishing operators tend to utilize.

Purse seine netting is an incredibly common practice. Using this method, a boat will locate a large school of fish, use a crane to rest the net around the school, then pull it back in, cinching it shut in the process, sort of like a drawstring bag. Trawling is also a fairly common netting method. This is done by dragging a large net behind your boat, ensnaring fish in the process.

Longlining for Fish

When a commercial fisherman opts to longline, they can potentially catch fish in large quantities. Using this method, you drag a line behind your boat, which are sometimes miles long, outfitted with hooks every few feet. As your boat travels on the sea, fish are caught on its hooks. While this is an effective way to catch fish, you do run the risk of landing a sizable amount of bycatch. 

Trapping and Potting for Shellfish

You can use traps and pots to catch shellfish such as crab and lobster. In this fairly simple fishing method, traps or pots are placed on the sea floor, at which point shellfish will enter them and be unable to get out. You do not run much risk of landing bycatch with this fishing method, but it can be easy to lose your traps by having them swept away.


Dredging is another common way to catch shellfish. Sort of like trawling, dredging involves dragging a large rake behind your boat along the seafloor. Doing this can pull up mussels, scallops, and clams. Dredging can harm an ecosystem, however, and should only be done in sustainable sandy areas.

Commercial Fisheries

Get Your Permits Online

Before you leave the dock, make sure all of your commercial fishing permits are in order. By using our streamlined web forms, you can apply for your state or federal permits in just a matter of minutes. To learn more about our services, take a moment to browse our website, or contact us by email or phone.

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