When thinking about expanding your fishing operation (i.e. buying a new vessel, permit or additional quota, or direct marketing), take the time to think through all implications carefully. Writing or revising your business plan is one of the best ways to do this.
Financing an expansion or diversification of a commercial fishing business can be complicated and your options for sources of financing may be much broader than when you first started fishing. If you are upgrading, you will also want to consider the tax implications of asset sales and acquisitions. In this section, you'll find links to a few tools that may be helpful as you take steps toward diversifying.
Most fishing businesses are organized as "sole proprietorships", where the business owner and business activities are the same, and the owner is responsible for all liabilities of the business. There are several other options for organizing your business, however. Read on for more information on various types of business structures.
Direct marketing your catch adds complexity and hopefully increased business profit. Remember, you're not "cutting out the middleman" when you direct market-you are the middleman yourself. That said, successful direct marketers enjoy a special sense of pride in their product, and ideally greater profits for their efforts. The Alaska and California Sea Grant programs have a wide array of materials for both the potential and active direct marketer.
The majority of Alaska's federally managed fisheries are now accessed through the purchase of quota shares, known as "units". Different questions and calculations are involved in making a decision to purchase federal quota shares vs. a State of Alaska limited entry permit. Alaska Sea Grant has developed a spreadsheet to help analyze the costs and benefits of quota share purchases for both halibut and sablefish.