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How to Become a Seafood Broker

Independent seafood brokers can make a large and lucrative business for themselves by working directly with fisherman and selling to grocery stores, specialty food stores or directly to the customer. If you enjoy working with people and have a love for seafood, becoming a seafood broker can be a great way to be in the food industry without knowing how to cook.

Contact your state's department of health and find out which licenses are required for a food broker. You will likely at least need to take a food-handling class at a local community college and pass a food handler's test. If you will be transporting the seafood yourself, you will need an inspection of your refrigerated truck.

Go to areas in your region where there are a lot of fishermen and talk with them about purchasing their catch. Some fishermen already have exclusive contracts with certain brokers, while others will sell to the highest bidder.

Write up a contract that you can sign with the fishermen you choose to work with. This contract details how much you will pay them or how much of a percentage of your sales price they will receive. Write up a separate contract to give to the stores that purchase the seafood you offer. This contract details how much you receive of the final retail price or how much you receive wholesale.

Make up a price sheet as well as a brochure detailing the seafood you offer, the waters from which it comes and how to contact you.

Purchase or modify a delivery truck with refrigeration equipment so you can transport the seafood. If you are starting very small, this can be as simple as a pick-up truck with a number of coolers. Alternatively, you can hire a trucking company that offers refrigerated space.

Sell your seafood to stores and other shops. If your seafood comes processed, such as smoked salmon, you may have luck selling to gift retailers, particularly if the fish is local. Small grocery stores, co-ops and other specialty food stores will likely be receptive to a good deal on fresh, local fish. Bring along samples and offer to make discounts on bulk or multiple orders.


Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.