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THE LIFE OF A COMMERCIAL FISHERMAN

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Rarely glamorous and often challenging, the life of the commercial fisherman is similar to that of the family farmer. The work is hard and sometimes dangerous and the income uncertain and variable. The commercial fishing operation is frequently a family venture, with information, techniques and equipment passed on through generations.

In many cases, family members take part in all aspects of the business, including fish processing and sales. Knowledge of the lakes is critical. Commercial operators often have detailed understanding of depth, current, substrate, landmarks and navigation, fish movements and subpopulations, and weather patterns. They are also skilled mechanics and craftsmen, which allows them to do a majority of their own boat and net repairs.

While various technological advancements have aided the commercial fisher in recent years, it is still a time-consuming and difficult occupation. Despite the challenging lifestyle, many speak of how fishing and the lakes are “in their blood.”

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