Commercial Fishing: A Recession-Proof Job

My sister sent me this link to an article she found in the MSN Money Blog. The article, called Smart Spending, ranks commercial fishing as #4 in its list of “Best Recesssion-proof Jobs.”

I was pretty excited to follow the link and read that commercial fishing made the cut because, as the article states, demand for fish is increasing in the U.S. even as foreign supply is declining.

My family enjoyed a debate over this statement during Thanksgiving weekend (followed closely by another lively discussion regarding the Oregon and Washington Dungeness crab fleets. Is this the usual kind of Thanksgiving chit chat that goes on in households when both fishermen and buyers are in attendance?).

Speaking of crabbers, I’ve been eager to let you know about a letter in the December issue of National Fisherman magazine that was written by a California fisherman named Jason Woods. It is one of the most thoughtful and original letters to National Fisherman I’ve read.

After I finished Jason’s letter, I folded down the corner of the page as a reminder for George to read. As usual, though, George was one step ahead of me.

“Keep that issue of NF,” he said. “I’m taking it to the boat.”

“Did you see that guy’s letter?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said. “I want the crew to read it.”

We liked the letter very much because it cast a positive light on the commercial fishing industry and on Woods’s own fishing career, and gave solid advice on how to be a successful fisherman in 2008.  My attention was captured in particular by the following statement:

“…I believe it is as possible now as ever to enjoy a career in America’s fisheries.”

Woods goes on to write about how his fishing helped put his wife through both the University of Southern California and University of California at Santa Barbara, to drive decent vehicles, operate seaworthy vessels, buy a home, and adopt a toddler.

He writes about the importance of a fisherman making time for his family, developing a business plan, maintaining a good PR image, doing the boat’s paperwork, having a better handle on the law than the guys enforcing it, performing boat safety drills with crew “no matter how corny it feels,” and maintaining one’s boat.

The above are some of the highlights of Jason’s letter, but paraphrasing can’t really do it justice. His thoughtful words are worth going out to get the December issue, if you don’t already have a copy.

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