Training for a 21st Century Fishing Career
fisheries science, conservation and practice - boat and fishing gear competency
business and marketing - safety and seamanship
Learn as you work under experienced California fishermen
Why become a fishing apprentice?
Fishing can be a viable career, especially given growing demand for local, responsibly-sourced seafood. But how can you get started in the business?
Regulations are complex. Working at sea can be challenging. Selling the product—especially new and emerging fish species that people may not know about—requires business and marketing skills. By apprenticing with experienced fishermen, you can gain the knowledge and skills to launch your career in fishing.
The training program will take 6 to 12 months, including a minimum of 1,000 hours of paid, on-the-job training, and about 100 hours of classroom instruction. Trainees earn money while they work and scholarships will also be available. Total estimated costs range from $500 to $1000 before scholarships.
Candidates must be at least 18, be nominated by a fisherman sponsor, meet program entry criteria, and pass a probationary period before working on boats.
On the job training: Licensed California commercial fishermen provide training, including hands-on experience before, during and after fishing trips in order to prepare, operate, maintain, repair and stow boats and gear. Training also covers the sale of catch.
Classroom training: Class instruction supplements the on-the-job training. You will learn about various aspects of the occupation, such as marine science, fisheries management, data collection, safety, seamanship, marketing, and business. Classes and workshops are provided through a variety of partnering public and private education groups, with some courses offered online. Credit may be granted for recent equivalent experience within each required topic.
Certificate of Completion
After the program, you will have gained a solid foundation in modern commercial fishing skills and an understanding of the environment in which fishermen work. At the end of the program, you will receive a certificate that outlines all of your work and classroom accomplishments.
How do I meet fishermen?
Head down to the docks! Fishermen are passionate about fishing and generally like to share fish stories. Check out your local waterfront and, in particular, your local fishermen's market.
California Commercial Fishing Apprenticeship Program
California Sea Grant, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr. #0232
La Jolla, CA 92093-0232