Pro fishermen operate fishing vessels to acquire fish and other sea life for human consumption. A fishing vessel is operated by a crew that includes a fishing boat captain, a few mates and a boatswain. Some of the larger fishing boats operate like a factory. The hauled fish is processed and packaged on board the ship with people working in shifts. The average salaries depend on employer, location, season and percentage share of the net catch.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic reports that pro fishermen in 2009 earned an annual mean wage of $26,600, while the median salary was reported at $23,600 a year. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned $16,690 a year or less, while the top-paid 10 percent made $41,150 or more.
The bureau reports that the water scenic and sightseeing transportation industry was the largest employer of pro fishermen in 2009 and paid them the fourth-largest salary among employers, $21,590. The local and federal governments were the second and third largest employers, with $29,910 and $40,180 annual mean wages. Merchant wholesalers of grocery and related products paid an average of $27,950 a year.
A few states are worth mentioning when it comes to pro fishermen: Washington, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Washington paid the highest average salary among states at $32,450 a year, followed by Massachusetts and New Jersey at $29,470 and $22,040 per year, respectively. Edison-New Brunswick, a New Jersey metro area, paid an average of $21,020 a year.
The work of pro fishermen is seasonal. The bulk of the earnings come from summer fishing while the conditions are favorable. The revenue received from sold fish is divided among crewmembers according to the pre-agreed percentages. The operating expenses, such as wear and tear, replacement of parts or nets, are taken out of the paychecks.