FishBiz Project

Financial and business tools for Alaska commercial seafood harvesters brought to you by the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program

Direct Marketing

Photo credit Alaska Sea Grant.

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.

Below are links to all Alaska Sea Grant publications related to direct marketing. California Sea Grant has gathered information from many of our Alaska-based documents, plus much more, into a single website, "Market Your Catch," covering all stages of direct marketing

Fishermen's Direct Marketing Manual HOT

This book expands business horizons for the commercial fisherman by helping you work through the steps involved in direct marketing—selling seafood products further up the distribution system than to the local processor. Plenty of people are eager to get their hands on your fish, in hopes of making money by adding value and selling the product. Chapters address finding domestic and international customers, strategies for distributing seafood, packaging and shipping, and the basics of business planning. The 4th edition significantly added sections on accounting, e-commerce, working with custom processors, direct marketing shrimp and avoiding HACCP problems. Regulations and technology were updated as well.

Regulations and interpretations do change, so please check with agencies for updates.

Published by the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, Oregon Sea Grant and Washington Sea Grant.

Author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. File Size 2.23 MB Download

Calculating Profitability for a Direct Marketing Operation HOT

Starting a direct market business requires changes to a traditional fishing operation. Before plunging headlong, a fisherman should weigh the costs against the benefits. This publication takes you through the needed steps—writing a business plan, projecting cash flow and calculating a "variable analysis." Knowing the numbers before entering into direct marketing, or whenever you change your fishing operation, will help you make the right decision.

Author Glenn Haight File Size 282.61 KB Download

Basic Startup Guide for the Direct Market Fisherman HOT

Are you really cut out for direct marketing your fish? If so, what permits do you need, and how can you qualify? This publication teaches direct market fishermen about the regulatory and permitting requirements they must follow, to lawfully sell catch from their vessels. Water supply, sanitation and chilling requirements have to be adhered to. All the legal aspects, as well as offloading, shipping, and records and reporting business hurdles, are clearly described.

Author Izetta Chambers File Size 440.49 KB Download

The Onboard DEC Inspection HOT

Written for Alaska fishermen with direct market permits, this publication informs captains of small vessels, who process their own fish, how to prepare for a Department of Environmental Conservation inspection. Operators are advised to have paperwork in order, and to demonstrate that they follow hazard analysis and sanitation protocols. In addition, the inspection is a good opportunity to discuss health aspects of new ideas for fishing business growth, with the DEC inspector.

Author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. File Size 387.37 KB Download

Working with a Broker or Trader HOT

This publication answers several questions about the seafood brokering and trading business, including what they do, why you might want to use one, how to forge a mutually beneficial relationship, and how you can protect yourself when expanding your business in this way. Understanding how a broker or trader operates will help you analyze whether employing one is an appropriate addition to your direct marketing business.

Author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. File Size 387.39 KB Download

Labeling Requirements for Alaska Seafood Processors HOT

Alaska commercial seafood processors must label their product according to state and federal regulations. This bulletin makes clear what information is required—company name, name of seafood, ingredients, permit number, date, weight, care of product, etc. In addition, the US Food and Drug Administration requires larger companies to state nutritional content on the label. Getting your labels right is an important part of running a legal, profitable business.

Author Izetta Chambers File Size 850.46 KB Download

A somewhat simpler form of direct marketing utilizes a "catcher-seller" permit issued by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.  Catcher-seller sales are limited to dockside sales of unprocessed and unpackaged products.  Information and application forms can be found on the ADF&G catcher-seller webpage.  The PowerPoint presentation below covers the basics of this method of direct marketing. 

Catcher-Seller PowerPoint HOT

Slides in this presentation cover the basics of ADF&G catcher/seller permits. It is geared toward skiff-based fishermen.

File Size 10.17 MB Download