Commercial Fishing

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Industry Structure, How Firms Opertate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Quarterly Insight, Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 2,500 commercial fishing operations in the US harvest fish and shellfish from their natural habitats in fresh water, tidal areas, rivers and oceans. The approximately 300 target species vary by region and require differing methods, vessels and equipment for their catch. Imports currently represent 94% of US consumption of fish and shellfish.

Limits to Prevent Overfishing

Overfishing is the catching and killing of more fish than can naturally be replaced.

Weather Hazards

Fishing is a seasonal job and catch is highest during the summer and fall, as winter fishing is particularly hazardous.

Industry size & Structure

The average commercial fishing company employs 2 workers and generates nearly $2 million in annual revenue.

    • Companies in commercial fishing vary in size from small vessel and family operations that operate as a fishing community to supply local and regional markets to large corporate fleets that supply regional, national and export markets.
    • There are about 2,500 companies in commercial fishing and 94% of companies have four or less employees.
    • Total annual revenue or "landings value" for commercial fishers range $4-6 billion.
    • Approximately 69,200 are employed in the industry, 92% are self-employed.
    • The largest firms are typically integrated, moving from managing their own fishing fleet to processing and distribution. These firms include: Nippon Suisan Kaisha (USA), Shamrock Foods, and Trident Seafoods Corporation.
    • Eight regional fishery management councils under NOAA oversee about 54 fishery management plans that control approximately 480 major fish stocks making up over 90% of annual revenue.
                              Industry Forecast
                              Commercial Fishing Industry Growth
                              Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                              Coronavirus Update

                              Apr 22, 2022 - Whale Entanglements Lead to Closures
                              • California wildlife officials imposed an early season closure after two humpback whales became entangled in commercial Dungeness crab fishing gear, National Fisherman reports. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) closed the fishery from Point Arena in Mendocino County south to the Mexican border in April 2022. Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program (RAMP) regulations, instituted in 2020, require CDFW to restrict Dungeness crab fishing when whales are present and the risk of entanglement is high. A climate-change-attributed spike in whale entanglements from 2015 to 2017 put the fishery in the crosshairs of some environmental organizations, leading to regulatory changes, including the establishment of the RAMP rules.
                              • A new study from Rutgers University on the effects of ocean warming on fish populations predicts that species that have shifted their range in response to warming temperatures may be unable to thrive in their new geographic ranges. “Warming coupled with food-web dynamics will be like putting marine biodiversity in a blender,” said study coauthor Malin Pinsky. The result from a fisheries perspective is that while fish species will persist, they will do so in smaller numbers, increasing the risk of overfishing due to low population growth rates.
                              • The invasion by Russia into Ukraine is having an impact on the global seafood market. Russian seafood exports, which declined 26% in 2021, are facing sanctions and bans from three of its largest markets – the US, EU, and South Korea. As the global seafood supply tightens, prices are rising. US commercial fishing operations stand to benefit from the market gap created by the bans and sanctions. The US is tracking how processed seafood from other nations, like China, is caught and sold to prevent Russian seafood from circumventing the ban.
                              • The consumer price of fish and seafood hit a record high in March 2022, up 10.9% from a year ago. The prices received by fishing operations were up 21.1% for unprocessed finfish and 28.2% for unprocessed shellfish.
                              • Commercial fishing operations are waiting longer to get their boats repaired. Shipyards are staggering crews to meet distancing requirements while making repairs. Longer wait times at port limit fishing opportunities and could affect a boat owner’s ability to fill its quotas and customer orders.
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