Once you have your fishing business off the ground, determining how your costs are measuring up against your income becomes a top priority. Alaska Sea Grant has developed an Excel spreadsheet tool specifically for Alaska fishermen to help do this. (Note: you need Microsoft Excel to use this tool.)
Effective management of a commercial fishing business is based on complete annual data (expenses, income, taxes), a record-keeping system, and accurate accounting and financial statements. Once these systems are in place, a snapshot of your business financial status is at your fingertips, and you can work more effectively on your own or with other professionals to tackle more complex business decisions.
Fish tickets are a primary source of financial and management data for your operation. Transferring ticket information to a spreadsheet helps track relative poundage of different species, sets the stage for other data such as crew shares, and serves as a crosscheck for processor year-end statements.
Risk management means assessing and preparing for events that could compromise the profitability or viability of your business. Risk management has two components - preventing bad things from happening, and mitigating or recovering from the results if something does happen.
Fuel costs are often a significant part of operation overhead, depending on the fishery and equipment needs. Understanding ways to lower fuel consumption can be as effective as installing a new engine. Alaska Sea Grant has several publications on fuel efficiency and understanding other energy systems on your vessel.