Working Waterfronts & Productive Fisheries

Fishing boats

Commercial Fishing Has Been Part of American Culture Since Our Early History

Pike Place Market, Seattle [Credit: Stefano Costanzo]

Pike Place Market, Seattle [Credit: Stefano Costanzo]

According to folklore, the waters off of Cape Cod contained so many of the fish that a person could walk on their backs – thus the origins of its name. Today, the U.S. seafood industry employs more than one million Americans as fishermen, seafood processors and dealers, seafood wholesalers and distributors, importers, and seafood retailers, and generates roughly $141 billion in sales impacts.

The stability of this historic industry, however, depends on abundant fisheries and thriving oceans. Improper management of America’s fisheries in the past caused fish populations to crash in the 1980s. Today, our oceans still face numerous threats such as overfishing and habitat destruction. While many fish stocks in the past two decades have made great progress toward recovery, the long-term success of our commercial fishing industry is uncertain without strong and effective federal fisheries policy.

Local fishing communities are the backbone of America’s commercial fishing industry. Our commercial fishing partners represent family businesses and associations that are looking out for the livelihoods of fishermen around the country by promoting the conservation of the resource and by safeguarding the business interests of small fishing communities who will work the waters for generations to come. Learn more about commercial fishing in different regions and how these groups are working to conserve the fish stocks on which they depend.