Trap Fishing Market

Goals

To identify the trap fishing market size with a breakdown of how much money is spent on gear and lost gear for purposes of a marketing pitch.

Early Findings

Preliminary research indicates that a direct market size for trap fishing is not available. There are market sizes for individual trap fish species, such as crab, lobster, and shrimp. There is also data available for how much trap fishermen spend on traps (especially crab traps) and how much they lose each year; however, much of it must be triangulated.
  • In 2017, U.S. crab fishing brought in $610 million, lobster fishing brought in $594 million, and shrimp fishing brought in $531 million. These three types of seafood are caught using traps.
  • There is no indication that swordfish are caught by traps, as the NOAA states that the target species for net/trap/pot fishing are crabs, lobsters, whelk, scup, black sea bass, and eels.
  • The total market size for crab, lobster, and shrimp trap fishing is $1.734 billion ($610 million + $594 million + $531 million).
  • Trap fishermen lose anywhere from 10% to 30% of their pots and traps each year.
  • Coastal Studies estimates that between 5% and 15% of lobster gear is lost each year to "storm action, propellers, or interactions with mobile fishing gear."
  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found that "commercial fishers in the Chesapeake Bay lose around one in every three traps they set, adding up to around 150,000 crab traps every year — and that is just one bay."
  • Commercial crab fishing boats have between 150 and 300 pots on board, with larger boats of 100 feet or longer averaging 250 pots.
  • Standard size crab pots (7-by-7-by-3 foot) sell for $1,250 each.
  • Therefore, if a crab boat loses between 5% and 30% of their pots and traps each year, this means that each crab boat loses between eight (5% of 150) and 90 (30% of 300) pots annually.
  • A large boat of 100 feet or longer with an average of 250 crab pots on board will lose between 13 pots (250 x 5%) and 75 pots (250 x 30%) each year for an annual loss of between $16,250 (13 x $1,250) and $93,750 (75 x $1,250) per year.
  • At a cost of $1,250 each, this means large crab boats lose on average between $10,000 (8 x $1,250) and $112,500 (90 x $1,250) of gear each year.
  • In addition to this public search, we scanned our proprietary research database of over 1 million sources and were unable to find any specific research reports that address your goals.

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