2017 Fishing and Hunting Workers
Median Pay: US$28,100
Entry Level: No formal educational credential
Summary
Fishing and hunting workers catch and trap various types of animal life. The fish and wild animals they catch are for human food, animal feed, bait, and other uses.
Duties

Fishers and related fishing workers typically do the following:

  • Locate fish with the use of fish-finding equipment
  • Direct fishing operations and supervise the crew of fishing vessels
  • Steer vessels and operate navigational instruments
  • Maintain engines, fishing gear, and other onboard equipment by making minor repairs
  • Sort, pack, and store the catch in holds with ice and other freezing methods
  • Measure fish to ensure that they are of legal size
  • Return undesirable or illegal catches to the water
  • Guide nets, traps, and lines onto vessels by hand or with hoisting equipment
  • Signal other workers to move, hoist, and position loads of the catch

Hunters and trappers typically do the following:

  • Locate wild animals with the use of animal-finding equipment
  • Catch wild animals with weapons, such as rifles or bows, or with traps like snares
  • Sort, pack, and store the catch with ice and other freezing methods
  • Follow hunting regulations, which vary by state and always include a safety component
  • Sell what they catch for food and decorative purposes

To plot a ship's course, fishing boat captains use electronic navigational equipment, including global positioning systems (GPSs), as well as compasses and charts. They also use radar and sonar to avoid obstacles above and below the water and to find fish.

Some fishers work in deep water on large fishing boats that are equipped for long stays at sea. Some process the catch on board and prepare the fish for sale.

Other fishers work in shallow water on small boats that often have a crew of only one or two. They might put nets across the mouths of rivers or inlets; use pots and traps to catch fish or shellfish, such as lobsters and crabs; or use dredges to gather other shellfish, such as oysters and scallops.

A small portion of commercial fishing requires diving with diving suits or scuba gear. These divers use spears to catch fish and nets to gather shellfish, sea urchins, abalone, and sponges.

Some fishers harvest marine vegetation rather than fish. They use rakes and hoes to gather Irish moss and kelp.

Fishers work in commercial fishing, which does not include recreational fishing. For more information on workers on boats that handle fishing charters, see the profile on water transportation workers.

Aquaculture - raising and harvesting fish and other aquatic life under controlled conditions in ponds or confined bodies of water - is a different field. For more information, see the profile on farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers.

The fishing boat captain plans and oversees the fishing operation, the fish to be sought, and the location of the best fishing grounds, as well as the method of capture, duration of the trip, and sale of the catch. They also record daily activities in the ship's log. Increasingly, they are using the Internet to bypass processors and sell their fish directly to consumers, grocery stores, and restaurants.

Fishers that specialize in catching certain species include crabbers and lobster catchers.

Hunters and trappers locate wild animals with GPS instruments, compasses, charts, and whistles. They then catch and kill them with weapons or traps. Hunters and trappers sell the wild animals they catch, either for food or decorative purposes.

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