Industrial Fishing, All About Commercial Fishing

What is industrial or commercial fishing?

When we speak of industrial fishing we refer to that activity that is carried out for commercial purposes through the massive capture of fish. This type of fishing requires both human and material equipment much higher in price than any type of sport fishing, since its objective is to catch large quantities of fish and then proceed to sell them in the markets, where the fish are auctioned .

Commercial fishing needs, in order to be profitable, fishing boats.equipped for mass catching, and ports have to be prepared to receive this type of fishing vessel. There are different types of extraction in industrial fishing, some more sustainable than others, let’s get to know in detail one of the oldest primary activities of human beings, fishing as a means of livelihood.

Industrial Fishing

Types of commercial or industrial fishing

Industrial fishing can be divided according to the work area into, coastal or coastal fishing , deep-sea fishing and large-scale fishing , each one will need different materials and vessels for its correct performance.

Coastal fishing

For the coastal fishing boats were used for medium or small sizes as these remain a few kilometers away from the coastline, they return to port each day to make the catch of the day. Due to the overexploitation of fishing this type of commercial fishing is increasingly in disuse since the seabed is more depleted by the abuse of this modality, or rather, by the methods used to carry it out.

Deep sea fishing

It requires greater technological advances to be able to bring the catches to a good port, the boats used are larger and with very useful handling and transformation machinery to preserve frozen fish since this type of fishing vessels spend long periods of time on the high seas fishing, we speak of weeks or even months, in search of the great schools of fish that are there. Regarding the equipment they carry on board, we can mention the fishing probes, as well as the refrigeration systems to preserve the fish during the long seasons that they work on the high seas until they reach port.

High-altitude fishing

When we talk about large fleets of fishing boats that fish on the high seas for long periods of time and also have other support vessels to supply supplies, fuel and other materials to the fishing boats, we refer to large fishing or fishing high altitude , being very relevant in countries with a long fishing tradition such as Russia or Japan. To have a better conservation of the catches, several processes are carried out to keep the fish in perfect condition, such as freezing or salting it, once classified and listed for greater control.

Extraction methods in modern industrial fishing

As in any other activity, depending on the system to be used to capture the fish in industrial fishing, it can be subdivided into several extraction methods or systems, some of them are practically extinct due to their high negative impact on the environment, as is the case. of trawling and others more in disuse due to high costs and lower productivity, let’s see what are the most prominent forms of industrial or commercial fishing.


Perhaps the least sustainable of all commercial fishing modalities, it basically consists of a huge net that literally sweeps the entire ocean floor trapping in it everything in its path, when we say everything is from corals, vegetation, crustaceans, species of little commercial interest, etc. etc. The trawling or retropesca is really devastating for the marine ecosystem and that is why the NGO Oceana insisted Brussels, control overfishing by this type of fishing. Below we can see the video “Raise your voice through the depths” very enlightening.

Trammel net

This fishing gear consists of placing 3 large cloths of net where the fish are trapped, it is a type of deep - sea ​​fishing . It is very effective since the fish do not perceive the net and therefore “entangled” in it easily, although it is not a sustainable fishery since, in addition to fish with commercial interest, other species are also trapped that have to be discarded later originating damage to the ecosystem.

Drift nets

These are huge networks that float adrift moved by currents or the wind through the Sea, we speak of networks of stratospheric lengths, which can reach up to 50 km long, we must know that the use of drift networks of more than 2 , 5 km in length are totally prohibited due to its negative effect on the massive extraction of fish. The negative factor of this type of industrial fishing is known since year after year hundreds of mammals are trapped in these nets , in addition to turtles, sharks, dolphins and even birds, a natural disaster that brings a dispute between countries interested in maintaining this modality of fishing. commercial fishing, is it really worth it?


In addition to being used by the boats of the fishing industry, this type of fishing also has its sporting modality. Curry fishing consists of dragging the gear at a certain distance from the boat in order to attract large predators, the speed of drag and depth of the gear will depend on what type of fish you want to catch, it is usual to carry gear at different depths and distances to have a greater variety of catches.


Widely used in regions of Spain on the Mediterranean coast, such as Andalusia, Valencian Community, Murcia and Ceuta, specialized in [tuna fishing. Basically trap fishing is the installation of a kind of maze of nets taking advantage of the migratory passage of tuna from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea, it is a more sustainable fishing since there is a limited number of fishing units per year, It is evident that due to its proximity, Huelva will be the most benefited from this modality

Purse seine fishing

Fishermen use so-called seine nets to limit fishing areas and thus have a greater probability of catching more fish. The purse seines are attached at one end to the main boat and at the other to a smaller boat that carries the purse seine around the school of fish. These nets range between 250 and 1000 meters long and 50 meters wide, the upper part of the net remains on the surface.

Longline fishing

Mode more used by artisanal fishermen than by industrial fishing , it is based on the use of bass line with different hooks attached to the mother line, it is undoubtedly a very selective fishing since depending on the catch we want to fish, the size will vary. and longline bait .

Differences between commercial and artisanal fishing

Without a doubt, the opposite way to the practice of industrial fishing is artisanal fishing , since the methods, materials and philosophies of both differ in their entirety. The traditional way of fishing is much more common in underdeveloped areas and countries where this activity has not yet been industrialized and small boats go out to fish to bring home the day’s catch as a means of subsistence, and the surplus to market it in a infinitely smaller scale than industrialized fishing does.

Most notable differences:

  • The industrial area uses half a million workers while artisan work needs almost 12 million workers.
  • Almost 30 million tons of fish per year is what is achieved industrially, artisanal fishing does not reach 25 million tons.
  • Artisanal fishing is economically more efficient since the cost of labor varies between $ 250- $ 2,500 while commercial fishing requires higher costs of between $ 30,000- $ 300,000.
  • The environmental impact of artisanal fishing is much lower since in terms of fuel costs the range is between 1-3 million tons, the industrialized way of fishing requires up to 19 million tons of fuel.
  • Another data of interest is that it is estimated that industrially, more than 40 million tons of fish are discarded each year.