The 5 Methods Used by Commercial Fisheries

commercial fisheries

The great thing about fishing is that it is an activity that can be enjoyed by all. For some fishermen, however, it turns into a vocation, and they utilize commercial fisheries to generate income. While you probably haven’t put much thought into how the fish at your local market are caught, the truth is that several methods are used by commercial and industrial fishing operations. Read on to learn more about the methods that are commonly used by commercial fishermen.


If you are looking to catch a high volume of fish in a short period, you would be hard-pressed to find a method better than netting. A time-tested and efficient commercial fishing practice, netting is used to catch roughly 80 percent of fish brought to market. 

There are several different netting techniques worth knowing, but the most common method is called “purse seine fishing.” In this practice, a boat or commercial fishing vessel will use radar to locate a school of fish, then a net is lowered into the water via a small crane. You can think of this as using a large drawstring bag – once the fish are in the net, it is cinched and raised out of the water.

commercial fisheries

Using Traps and Pots

Lobsters, crab, and other species of shellfish can command a high dollar. To get a sizable catch to market, commercial fishermen rely on traps and pots to entrap invertebrates. When using this fishing method, traps are lowered to the ocean floor. Once a lobster or crab enters the trap, it is closed shut, allowing the fisherman to pull it up and bring it on-board their vessel. 


Sometimes in life, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself – and get your hands a little dirty in the process. This is also true in commercial fishing. Sometimes divers are used to capturing sea urchins and sea cucumbers. This is a fairly straightforward practice in which a diver will go below water where their catch is located and physically grab creatures from the seafloor.


Trawling is a method of commercial fishing that employs a large net, but it is a bit different than simply dropping it in and pulling it back up. This practice actually requires some movement from the involved vessel, as a net is dropped and then dragged to ensnare fishing along the way. Trawling is done at varying depths depending on what the desired catch may be.

Line fishing

No matter how advanced commercial fishing technology becomes, sometimes you cannot beat the traditional hook and line method. This commercial and industrial fishing practice can include rod and reel fishing, though long-lining is much more common (and practical). With long-lining, the actual line can sometimes be miles long, catching a significant volume of fish when done effectively.

Do You Need a Permit for Commercial Fisheries?

If you are interested in starting a commercial fishing business, make sure that you have the permits you need to operate legally. Contact the Commercial Fishing Permits Center today, or take a moment to browse our website to learn more about how we can help you.

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