Stakeholders in Fisheries

Direct Stakeholders


Fishermen & women

They catch the fish


They process the fish

  • Commercial fishing directly provides 40 million people with jobs around the world. More than 200 million others are indirectly employed.
  • 1.2 million people in the United States are employed through the fishing industry.


Fishing Vessels

They transport the fishers. Boat owners are often also workers, but sometimes not.

Seafood Companies

They sell seafood products. They often own the boats and the processing facilities.

  • There are 4.6 million fishing vessels in the world, ranging from small 2-person crews, to gigantic boats with several dozen crew. About 65% of vessels are motorized, while the other 35% are human or sail-powered.
  • The industry is worth over $250 billion dollars to the US economy.

Also available in:


Retail Outlets

Restaurants and grocery stores rely on fish for business.

Seafood Consumers

They eat the fish. Probably you, definitely me.

Other fishers


Small-scale & subsistance


  • Sometimes in conflict with commercial industry (and each other) over access, regulation, or stock status. Indigenous users’ rights may be infringed upon.
  • Recreational fishing is a huge industry. Contributes $120 billion and 500,000 jobs in U.S.A. 


Fishery Managers

Decision-makers that make and enforce regulations for commercial fisheries.

Fishery Scientists

They assess the status of fish stocks and make recommendations to managers.

  • Management decisions are (hopefully) made based on scientific recommendations.

Indirect Stakeholders

Recreational Users

Boaters, divers, surfers, and sailors can be conflicted with the the seafood industry over crowding, use, access or regulation. Probably you, definitely me.


Want what is best for the planet. Sometimes this conflicts with the seafood industry, though often goals align with good management. Hopefully you, definitely me.

Oil & Gas

Mining Companies

  • In conflict with seafood industry over space, access, or regulations. Actively worsen fisheries.
Activists with a "Go Vegan" sign

Animal Rights Activists

Believe harvesting fish for food is morally wrong and, generally, animals should not be eaten.

Shipping Industry

They ship and transport seafood products, but also compete with fisheries for use, space, crowding, and access.

Could belong to any number of stakeholder groups:


All of the above stakeholders are constituents! Some of them have a lot of money to donate…


This post is part of Sustainable Seafood 101

Continue reading below:  

Seafood in a Global Context

Commercial Fishing

People & Fish