Can Fishing Be a Job: Professional Fishing

Fishing, in the narrowest sense, is the catch of fish in fresh and saltwater by various methods. The hunting of fish with commercial value for marketing purposes on a large scale because its meat, oil, or other products are used is called professional or commercial fishing. Fishing made for sports or recreational purposes is called amateur fishing. But fishing in the broadest sense of the word includes all fisheries such as lobster, hermit, shrimp, oysters, mussels, octopus, and even marine mammals such as whales, and the production of fish and other fish products in ponds, pools, or seas. So what exactly is professional fishing? Can fishing be a real job?

Yes, fishing can be, and actually is a full-time job. Professional fishing is the livelihood of many people today. Professional fishing is based on fishing with nets and different nets are used according to the characteristics of the fish and the depth of the water in which it lives. Where the sea bottom is not uneven, bottom fish are usually caught by bottom trawling. In the fishing of surface fish, two methods called purse seine and medium water trawl are mostly used. Today, professional (commercial) fishermen use huge ships the size of a football field with advanced electronics to track fish. These large boats can stay out of the sea for six months, storing thousands of tons of fish in the huge cooler compartments of the ships.

A Full Time Fishing Job: Professional Fishing

The hunting, breeding, trading, and evaluation of fish products of all kinds of fish living in the waters are called professional fishing. Since ancient times, fishing, which has been done to meet the food needs of people, has developed from the hand-held method to modern fishing technology today. As an amateur sport, many people are busy with it today. Continuous research has been carried out and new fishing methods have been developed in fishing in order to benefit more from the blessings in the waters. In ancient times, manual fishing on the water’s edge began to be done with tools such as harpoons, fishing rods, and nets.

In addition to coastal fishing with boats and boats, the developing technique today has caused high seas fishing to gain importance. Fishing is no longer just for nutrition. It has also gained importance as a by-product of feed, perfumery, and pharmaceutical industries. Since fishing is done in many different ways, its classification is very detailed. Fishing is divided into two as amateur and professional. Professional fishing, on the other hand, is of two types as coastal and open sea fishing. It is also diverse in terms of hunting tools. The use of irregular techniques and ignorance of fishing caused some fish extinction.

When many disputes arise between the fishermen of different countries in open sea fishing; International laws and treaties have been prepared on fishing as a remedy. Fishermen are obliged to act in accordance with existing laws and rules. Coastal fishing is done with small ships and boats in the waters close to the beaches and inland seas. The fish caught are taken ashore within a day and sold. In addition to net hunting, some fish such as swords and tuna are hunted with spears. Open sea fishing takes place in months-long fishing with large vessels.

Offshore fishing vessels hunt in fleets, equipped as factories or as hunting and processing vessels. Fish caught in months-long hunts are processed instantly on ships. When the ships land, fish oil, fish meal, etc. products obtained from fish are ready to market. In this type of fishing, whale, cod, etc. fish are caught. The leading countries in the world in this field are the USA and Japan. In professional fisheries, fish influxes (migrations) and nesting (reproduction) periods are carefully followed. The locations of the fish shoals are found with the help of radar systems. Traces of fish shoals can be seen on the screen of the radar and you can easily go to that direction and fish.

Amateur fishermen are of two types: surface and underwater. Underwater fishing is carried out with waterproof clothing that can ensure the fisherman stay underwater for a long time, pallets that allow him to move easily in the water attached to the feet, an air tube that allows him to breathe, and a speargun to catch fish. The fisherman, diving into the water, catches his prey underwater by shooting harpoons with a rifle. Surface amateur fishing is done with the help of fishing rods. A needle is tied at the end of the ropes called a fishing line made of nylon. A sinker weighing 20-50-100-150 grams etc. is attached to the tip to ensure that the hooks are submerged underwater.

This type of fishing is done in the seas, streams, lakes, and rivers, or in small boats that are very close to the shore. This species, which is the most common form of amateur fishing, also differs according to the type of fishing gear used. In this type of fishing, various baits are attached to the end of the fishing line according to the season and the type of fish caught.

In the world, Japan, the USA, England, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, and Italy attach great importance to fishing and they fish in abundance with the modern fleets they have established. They meet the needs of both their own and other countries in abundance by making use of these kinds of the richness of the great oceans. Floating fleets constitute a great source of income for these states.

What Are Professional (Commercial) Fishing Methods?

Marine fish are divided into two groups depending on the depth of the water in which they live. Those living close to the water surface are called surface fish, those living near and below the sea bottom are called bottom fish. For example, herring, sardines, anchovies, tuna, and mackerel are surface fish. Cod, whiting, hake, and all flatfish are also among the bottom fish. Commercial fishing is based on fishing with nets and different nets are used according to the characteristics of the fish and the depth of the water in which it lives. In places where the sea bottom is not uneven, bottom fish are usually caught by bottom trawl. The trawler net dragged by the trawler to the sea collects the fish on its way by scanning the bottom of the sea.

Wooden boards are placed on both sides of the trawl net, which looks like a big bag in the shape of a cone, to keep its mouth open, which is about 30 meters wide. These wooden boards called doors are also connected to the trawl boat with steel cables. During the hunt, the trawl net is dragged at the bottom for 1.53 hours, then it is pulled with the help of a crane and the fish inside are discharged into the boat and then released to the sea. After the caught fish are cleaned and washed, they are kept in the barn of the boat by being buried among the ice so that they do not spoil. In some large and advanced trawlers, fish are frozen with special cooling devices after cleaning. These large boats, which can carry up to 850 tons of fish, can stay and fish in the sea for months.

Another method used in catching some bottom fish is the long line. The longitudinal line is a few kilometers of a thick line (fishing line) with nearly 1,000 bait needles spaced apart. The location of the long line left on the sea bottom is determined by buoys. In order to take the caught fish and re-feed the needles, the long line is pulled from the sea every 24 hours. In the fishing of some surface fish, such as tuna, above water longlines attached to buoys are used. One of the most used hunting tools for catching bottom fish is the flipping nets. The area where the fish is dense is surrounded by nets, then the fish are driven towards the bag-shaped part of the net.

The two methods called purse seine and medium water trawl are mostly used in the fishing of surface fish. In purse-seine hunting, the fish herd, whose location is determined, is surrounded by a purse-seine that is lowered into the water to stand upright like a curtain. Then the ropes in the lower part of the net are pulled and the mouth is shrunk like a bag. The fish in the net is pulled into the purse-seine boat with the help of a crane and taken to the boat by pumping with big ladles, or water. In the mid-water trawl, a larger net than in the bottom trawl is dropped to the depth of the fish and pulled in a boat or two.

One of the oldest methods in sea fishing is the trap-net. In this method, which has been applied since ancient times, pools surrounded by networks are created near the shore. Gillnet (flat net) is used for fishing some fish such as bonito, bluefish, mackerel, horse mackerel. Usually 1 kilometer or more long, these nets have small holes (eyes). Gill nets are dropped into the sea to hang like a curtain. For this, one end of the net is attached to the bottom by anchoring, or it is dragged on the water surface by pulling it with a motor. The head of the fish swimming rapidly towards the net passes through the holes of the net, but the fish cannot pull itself back because their gills (as they used to be gill) are attached. In order to get the fish, it is necessary to shake the net that has been pulled into the boat.

Some fish, such as tuna, mackerel, bluefish, jump on anything that shines in the water, thinking it is food. To hunt this type of fish, shiny metal spoons with triple pins and shape resembling a small fish are used. The areas where the bottom fish are located are determined by echo-receiving devices such as sonar. These devices can determine the depth and location of fish by measuring the time it takes for the sound they send to reverberate by hitting the sea bottom or a school of fish. Schools of fish passing close to the surface in non-turbid waters can also be detected from the aircraft.

Professional Fishing With Trawl Nets

Trawl nets, one of the dragnets, are the most effective and modern fishing gear used in the fishing of demersal and semipelagic fisheries.

  • Demersal = living dependent on the bottom (such as red mullet, turbot, shrimp)
  • Semipelagic = living in the water area at the bottom and above the bottom, unconnected with the surface (such as whiting, mendole)

The general shape of the trawl nets is like a funnel. It is in the form of a net bag that starts wide and narrows towards the back. The mouth opening of the net is provided by doors in the horizontal direction or boats pulling the net from both sides, and a vertical opening is provided by the floaters and sinkers on the cork collar. Trawl nets can be pulled at the bottom, surface, or any desired water level. The catch of the fish of the net takes place by the accumulation of the fish products in the water mass entering through the mouth of the net and filtered by the net during shooting, in the bag section at the last section. Basically, there are three types of trawl nets according to their usage and structure:

  • Framed Trawls
  • Door Trawls
  • Doorless (towed by two boats) Trawls

In addition, trawlers are of two types, bottom trawls, and middle water trawls, depending on the lifestyle of the fish they aim to catch (bottom or surface fish). The most important feature of trawl nets is that they can catch fish of the desired size and release the small ones by making changes in them. It’s even possible to avoid catching unwanted species with trawl nets. For this purpose, networked window, grid, etc. systems are placed, made with two bags, a square mesh is used.

Professional Fishing With Purse Seiners

Seine nets belong to the group of surrounding nets and are the most effective fishing tools used in hunting pelagic fish among all nets. Pelagic (living on or near the surface) fish that form flocks with purse seiners are caught. The principle of operation is based on the enclosure of the shoal of fish. Since this rotation is in both horizontal and vertical directions, purse seiners are an efficient hunting method. A purse seine consists of a long and deep net and a section where the fish are compressed.

The end of the net connected to the boat is called a veil. Cork and lead collar ropes are connected to the main net with strong nets with wide mesh. Lashes are metal rings through which the wire rope used to shrink the bottom of the net. Purse-seiners are divided into two groups as those used by two boats and one boat. In purse seine nets used with two boats, the compression part is in the middle of the net, and at one end of the net in those used by a single boat. While purse seine nets, which were used with two boats until the 1970s, were quite common all over the world, today only one boat type purse seine nets are used with the increase of mechanization.

A purse-seine tackle consists of three different boat types: main boat (net boat), boat (skiff), and carrier boats. The main boat is the boat that carries the net and turns it around the school of fish, throwing the net and lifting it up. The boat is a small but powerful boat that helps the main boat in the fishing operation. The boat is sometimes carried on the back of the boat, sometimes after it, sometimes on a special ramp on the boat. The boat is first released into the sea while the net is surrounded by the fish school. In the meantime, one end of the net is tied to the boat, and the boat left to the sea makes astern to allow the net to collapse and prevent the boat from dragging behind.

Carrier boats, on the other hand, are boats that bring the fish of a tackle that can catch hundreds of tons of fish in a hunting operation like a purse-seine. Large net reels (PowerBlock) specific to purse-seiners are used to collect the net to the boat. Since there are many fishes caught, the fish are loaded onto the carrier boat with the help of a fish pump.

Professional Angling: Jigging

The purpose of using a jig is to trick the predator fish in relatively deep waters to make them jump to the fake. We implement certain actions in this regard. We give the action by pulling and releasing it from the bottom, sometimes 2 meters, sometimes 2 spans, and twisting our fishing line from time to time during the pulling, giving the impression of a fish that has been died of the bends. When we feel a weight, we understand that the fish has jumped and we catch it with a hard leash. The leash is important only at the first hit. Because sometimes the hooks may not fit on the palate of the fish. For this, we can secure our job with good timing. After that, depending on the size of the fish, it is pulled directly or by exhausting.

The pasture you choose while jigging hunting is very important as in all other hunting styles. For this reason, after setting off from the shore, the Crushed areas that deepen suddenly, underwater islets and rocks that you can detect with the Fish Finder, and the places that extend from the 20-25 depth of the sea to the water but not very rocky bottom are very productive. Especially when the sea is flowing, the quality of the fish increases considerably, but if the material suitable for the current water is not used, the quality of the prey decreases at that rate. You should take the necessary measures to prevent this. As long as you be well prepared for the conditions of the hunt, it will be a productive hunt.

Although the pastures where hunting is done are generally rocky areas, fishermen can perform Shore Jigging from piers, mansions, and pontoon tops. But the areas we prefer are always the front of high rocks with a depth of at least 20-25 meters. Stonefish are hunted from here. Tackles are lighter than those used in deep water. The fishing line connected to the machine is 0.35 mm, the weight of the jig used is 30 to 100 grams depending on the wind and current. The choice of the rod should be made according to the weight of the fake. In other words, using light rods for light ones will give you an advantage in terms of adaptation. There is only one thing to be aware of, which is the problem of fishing line being stuck.

Jig trials of many fishermen from the shore have been a problem due to the fishing line being stuck and in the end, they have been given up saying damn this! The reason for this is of course not knowing the pasture well and not being able to apply the actions taken properly. In other words, when choosing a rocky area, the area to be actioned should be chosen from places far from the rocks in order to prevent the hooks to be caught and stuck, and it should be relatively heavier on the fake. Since it will be very difficult to control light jigs, it will definitely be experienced in stuck. In addition, as we have mentioned before, it will definitely benefit you to observe someone who does this job properly. So it is very difficult for you to learn this job by just watching videos.

As a result, it is necessary to be patient to realize a good jigging technique from the shore. Choosing the right pasture and using materials suitable for the environment is absolutely essential for you to progress in this process. You will need a little more patience for this.

The Relationship Between Professional, Amateur and Sportive Fishing

We consider hunting done just to kill time and have a good time as the amateur, and hunting that is done to earn money from this job as professional hunting. Sportive action is available in both hunting types. Sportive fishing does not necessarily involve killing fish. In this respect, it is not possible to say that sportfishing is settled in most regions of the world. Because the idea that the fish caught, whether sporty or professional, should be killed is common. However, in sportive fishing, the aim is doing sports. For this purpose, training is given to fishermen in only a few countries to put the fish back into the water after hunting.

Sportive fishing is very developed throughout the world. Even around a tiny lake and river, you’ll see hundreds of amateur hunters. In such lakes, if all the fish caught are taken away, there will be no fish left to be caught in a short time. For this reason, throwing the fish back is the basis, especially in small lakes open to sport fishing. In addition, these ponds are reinforced with the fish raised and sport fishing is supported. In addition, the amount of hunting is limited in many hunting areas. Some areas have weight limitations. Fish that are less than a certain length are left to the water back.

It is imperative that this habit be established in all countries. For example; In some rivers and dams, even 50-100 grams of tuna fish are caught by angling. However, these fish will grow much more in the future and the possibility of giving a good catch will increase. Special attention should be paid if a fish that cannot be eaten is caught during hunting. First, carefully remove the needle from the fish’s mouth. Try not to hurt the fish. While the fish is pulled with a fishing rod, it is tired. Therefore, it may be cut off from the force. If possible, try to hold the fish with a wet hand or a wet cloth and leave it calmly in the water.

It is useful to wait a minute or two while holding the fish in the water. Thus, you can ensure that the stunned fish stand upright in the palm and swim properly. Especially whether its gills are working properly or not should be monitored. If a fish that is caught is thrown into the water, this will not give any result other than taking an unnecessary life. For this reason, it should be a general habit of sport fishing to leave the fish into the water in a calm and sensitive way. In all developed countries of the world, there are periods in which hunting time is limited. There are seasonal bans for the species as well as hunting bans on special water areas. These prohibitions are mandatory for sport fishing as well as for professional fishing.

Actors and Issues in Professional Fishing

Cooperatives are having difficulties in creating cooperation between their partners as a result of low stocks and lower-income. In addition, sometimes violent conflicts may arise between coastal fisherman and industrial fisherman, commercial fisherman and amateur fisherman, legal and illegal hunter groups.

Fish stocks are rapidly declining in the seas, and issues related to fishing are becoming more acute. As tensions rise among the groups that catch, sell, consume, conduct scientific studies on fish and try to organize fisheries, new opportunities for cooperation are also emerging. In the short term, the problem of livelihood and the concern that future generations will not consume fish in the long term are intertwined. On the one hand, factors such as overfishing, illegal hunting, overcapacity in fishing fleets put great pressure on resources, while climate change further increases the uncertainty regarding the future state of resources.

One of the most common problems for fishermen is illegal fishing and the fact that they are forced to hunt more because of large debts they have to pay to intermediaries. It is clear that overfishing is a systemic problem closely related to the economic difficulties of fishermen who cannot sell their catch. For this reason, cooperatives are in close contact with non-governmental organizations such as Greenpeace, Slow Food, and scientists working in the field of aquaculture, while expressing their problems with marketing and intermediaries in various media.

Cooperatives are having difficulties in creating cooperation among their partners as stocks fall and fall. In addition, sometimes violent conflicts may arise between coastal fisherman and industrial fisherman, commercial fisherman and amateur fisherman, legal and illegal hunter groups. Small and large-scale fishermen often come across as they aim to catch the same species in the same regions. While coastal fishermen emphasize sustainable fishing in their discourse, industrial fishermen emphasize pollution of the seas more than overfishing.

The enacted new laws caused an increase in tension between these two groups on issues such as the minimum size of fish that can be hunted, and hunting with light. Due to the lack of reliable data on stocks and the insufficient accuracy of the fishermen’s catch, the conflict between fishing groups is increasing and at times lacking a solid scientific basis. This situation, which causes fishermen to be skeptical of the data provided by scientists in the field of fisheries and their suggestions, can cause government bureaucrats to be constantly under the influence of different lobby groups in regulations.

Sustainable management of fisheries, which is a dynamic system that is difficult to regulate and includes various biological and institutional uncertainties, seems to be possible only with the effective and equal participation and representation of cooperatives, other resource users, and scientists. It should also be kept in mind that small-scale coastal fishing has an important socioeconomic and cultural place in society and that cooperatives are important institutional structures in terms of both active participation and internal audit.

A participatory system that examines the demands of different groups while making communiqués and laws, observes regional differences, takes into account the results of scientific studies in the world and in the country, effectively and equally applies the control of the regulations made to everyone, will benefit both consumers who demand reliable, delicious, sustainable food, and different fishing groups who are pushed into overfishing by financial difficulties.

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Savaş Ateş

When I was a kid I had a small aquarium in our home. I had different kinds of fishes. I like fishes. Then I started to research all kinds of fishes and fishing too. I read lots of books about them. I like to share my experiences.

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