Start Your Business

man in skiff with net

Step 1: Explore your options

From Kotzebue in the north to Dixon Entrance in the south, Alaska waters are home to a wide variety of state and federally managed fisheries. If you are new to commercial fishing, you might not be aware of all the fisheries in your immediate vicinity, and few know about all of them around the state.

Learn more about your fishery options

Step 2: Determine your fishery's value

As you think about buying a boat or permit, it is wise to get a good understanding of the current and historical value of the fishery you are about to enter. The price of the permit is only one indicator of the value of the fishery—many factors influence the cyclical rise or fall in permit values.

Learn more about fishery values

Step 3: Will it "pencil out?"

Now that you have a better understanding of income potential and a feel for historical production swings in your chosen fishery, "pencil out" your proposed operating and start up costs against different income projections. Alaska Sea Grant has a tool that can help.

Learn how to make these calculations

Step 4: Financing

Armed with solid information about the value of the fishery, potential earnings, and realistically estimated fixed and variable costs of your proposed fishing operation, you are ready to look for financing to launch this fishing business.

Learn how to get financing for your business

Step 5: Planning for success

With your homework done, you're now ready to take the plunge into ownership of a fishing business. This section contains a link to business planning software for commercial fishing operations, which may help you take that big step with more confidence.

Learn how to own and run your business

Step 6: Annual money matters

Just as your boat requires annual maintenance, so does the financial side of your business. Your long-term business success depends on accurately tracking and managing your profits and losses, from your first season through your last.

Learn how to manage money for your business