Sea Grant updates direct marketing guide for fishermen

The Sea Grant programs in Alaska and Washington have released an updated edition of the popular “Fishermen’s Direct Marketing Manual.”

The manual is a how-to guide and reference book for commercial fishermen who wish to bypass processors and wholesalers and sell their catch directly to brokers, restaurants and other buyers. As the business climate of the seafood industry evolves, many fishermen are choosing to directly market their catch to capture more of its value.

Hard copies of the 5th edition of the manual, edited by Terry Johnson, are now available through Alaska Sea Grant’s online bookstore. The digital version is online on Alaska Sea Grant and Washington Sea Grant websites.

Direct marketing affords many opportunities, but it also involves risk. In addition to fishing, harvesters also take on the added duties of finding buyers, researching markets, advertising, shipping, dealing with regulations and more.

The “Fishermen’s Direct Marketing Manual” helps readers think through the myriad of issues so they can decide whether this business model is right for them. The manual also provides much of what they need to know to launch a new business or fine-tune an existing one.

“Since the mid-1990s, when we first published the book, hundreds of fishermen have said the manual is a valuable tool for navigating the gauntlet of challenges and opportunities involved with direct marketing,” said Paula Cullenberg, director of Alaska Sea Grant.

Among the many fishermen who have used the book is Shannon Ford, owner of Two If By Seafoods, based in Washington and Alaska. “When I began selling a portion of my catch, the ‘Fishermen’s Direct Marketing Manual’ was my single most valuable resource in navigating that brand-new arena. Now, 10 years later, I still refer to it as a comprehensive guide and reference,” said Ford.

The new edition is packed with updated information on branding, product placement, social media and emerging products.

The manual also has new sections on accounting, insurance, digital marketing and commerce, and working with custom processors. “The book will serve as a useful resource for anyone involved with the business of fishing,” said Penny Dalton, Washington Sea Grant director.

FURTHER CONTACTS: Terry Johnson,; MaryAnn Wagner, 206-616-6353,