How to start a Seafood Business in UK USA (Business Plan)

Seafood Business

Do you have these questions in your mind?

  • How to start a Seafood Business?
  • How much does it cost to start a Seafood Business?
  • What type of Seafood Business should I start?
  • How can I make my Seafood Business a profitable business?


In this article, you will find answers to all your questions. So please grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get started.

Table of Contents

What is the Seafood Business?

With a global market value of around $159 billion with a CAGR of 4.1% from 2021 to 2026, the Seafood Industry is undoubtedly an industry where businesses can thrive and succeed.


Starting a Seafood business can be fulfilling and profitable, requiring careful planning and preparation.


Whether you’re passionate about seafood or have a knack for business, starting a seafood business can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, like any other business, challenges, and obstacles exist. 


In this article, we’ll explore the steps to starting a seafood business and inform you of the right approach and mindset that can turn your love for seafood into a thriving business.

Market Insight: The size of the Seafood industry in the United States is approximately $20 billion and, in the United Kingdom it's around £6.4 billion.

Seafood Business

Seafood Business Models

Companies can adopt various business models in the seafood industry, depending on their goals, resources, and the specific needs of their target market. Here are a few examples:


1. Fish Catching Business: 
These businesses catch fish from natural water bodies such as oceans, rivers, and lakes. The profit margins of fish-catching firms can vary widely depending on the type of fish, the fishing location, and market demand.


2. Fish Farming Business: 
Fish farming involves raising fish in controlled environments such as tanks, ponds, or enclosures. The profit margins for fish farming businesses depend on the cost of inputs such as feed, electricity, and labor, as well as the selling price of the fish. 


3. Seafood Supply Business: 
These businesses involve sourcing and supplying seafood products to retailers, wholesalers, and food service businesses. The potential profit margin for seafood supply businesses can range from 20-40%, depending on the type of seafood and the market demand.


4. Seafood Processing Business: 

Seafood processing involves cleaning, filleting, packaging, and selling seafood. The potential profit margin for seafood processing can range from 20-40% depending on the type of seafood and the market demand.


5. Seafood Export Business: 
Seafood export is a lucrative business with high-profit margins but requires significant capital investment. The profit margins for seafood export can range from 50-100% depending on the type of seafood and the export destination.


6. Seafood Retail Business: 
These businesses sell seafood directly to consumers through physical stores or online platforms. The profit margins for seafood retail businesses vary widely depending on the location, market demand, and competition.


7. Seafood Supply to Food Service or Restaurant Business: 
These businesses supply seafood to food service or restaurant businesses. The profit margins for seafood supply businesses can range from 20-40% depending on the type of seafood and the market demand.

Remember, as a startup, your goal should be to keep your costs low and depend on your skills. If you push the process and try to go full-service from the very beginning, there is a good possibility that you’ll be overburdened and may get lost in the process.

Seafood Business

Pros and Cons of a Seafood Business

Pros of a Seafood Business include:


  • High demand for seafood as a popular food choice.
  • Opportunities for diversification with various types of seafood.
  • Potential for high-profit margins due to premium pricing for certain seafood items.
  • Access to local and global markets for seafood distribution.
  • Seasonal availability of different seafood varieties allows for flexible sourcing options.


Cons of a Seafood Business include:


  • Risks of spoilage and loss due to the perishable nature of seafood.
  • Dependence on reliable and consistent seafood suppliers.
  • Challenges in maintaining quality standards and food safety regulations.
  • Environmental concerns and sustainability issues related to overfishing and aquaculture practices.
  • High Competition from other seafood businesses. 

Trends and Challenges in the Seafood Business


1. Sustainable sourced seafood
2. Traceable and transparent supply chain
3. Seafood as a part of a healthy and balanced diet


1. Clearance from customs
2. Shipment is put on hold if pests and diseases are located
3. Perishable

Investment required for your Seafood Business

The investment required to start a Seafood Business in the UK & the US can vary depending on many factors, such as the size and location of the company, the type of equipment and supplies needed, and the labor cost.


The average cost to open a small-scale Seafood Business in the US ranges from $10K to $50K. While in the UK, the average price ranges from £5K to £30K.


Some Common Expenses in running a Seafood Business include:


  • Fishes
  • Raw Materials
  • Salaries
  • Rent
  • Delivery Vehicle
  • Fuel
  • Insurance (if any)
  • Electricity
  • Telephone
  • Office Supplies
  • Repairs
  • Licenses (if any)
  • Property taxes
  • Loans if any
  • Advertisement costs
  • Office & Administration
  • Equipment
  • Utilities
  • Water bill
  • Storage
  • Any other taxes
Seafood Business

How much will you earn from your Seafood Business?

Estimating earnings in the Seafood Business with more information about the specific company, such as location, target market, and competition, is more accessible. 


In addition, factors such as overhead costs, sales volume, and pricing will all play a role in determining earnings.


The average small-scale Seafood Business revenue is around $20K-$100K annuallywhile in the UK, it’s about £10K-£50K per year, with a profit margin of about 15%- 20% every year. 

Market Insight: In 2021, One of the biggest Seafood companies in the world, Maruha Nichiro reported a revenue of roughly 8 billion euros.

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Seafood Business

Pick your Niche!

It’s essential to identify your niche and stick to it. This will help you to create a business that resonates with your target market and build a solid brand.


The seafood industry is a large and diverse industry with many different niches. Here are some of the most common types of niches within the seafood industry:


1. Sustainable seafood: 

This businesses specialize in sustainably caught or farmed seafood and are provided certification and labelling for sustainable seafood products.


Sub Niches:



  • Wild-caught seafood
  • Farmed seafood
  • Seafood certification and labeling
  • Eco-friendly fishing gear and practices


2. Premium seafood: 

This niche involves rare or exotic species, seafood that is harvested in a particular way or location, or seafood that is marketed for its unique taste or texture.


Sub Niches:



  • Exotic or rare seafood
  • High-end seafood restaurants
  • Luxury seafood products
  • Specialty seafood suppliers


3. Local seafood: 

This niche focuses on seafood that is caught or farmed locally and sold within a specific geographic region. It often involves partnerships between fishermen, seafood processors, and restaurants or retailers in the same community.


Sub Niches:



  • Community-supported fisheries
  • Farm-to-table seafood restaurants
  • Seafood farmers markets
  • Seafood co-ops


4. Seafood technology: 

This niche involves companies developing new fishing gear or aquaculture systems, or those that use data and analytics to optimize seafood production.


Sub Niches:



  • Aquaculture technology
  • Fishing technology
  • Seafood processing technology
  • Seafood data analytics


5. Seafood tourism: 

This niche involves cater to travellers interested in seafood and seafood-related activities. This could include seafood festivals, seafood tours, and seafood restaurants that specialize in local or regional cuisine.


Sub Niches:

  • Seafood festivals and events
  • Seafood culinary tours
  • Seafood cooking classes
  • Seafood boat tours and charters


6. Seafood education: 

This niche involves seafood safety training, seafood cooking classes, or educational programs for sustainable seafood practices.


Sub Niches:


  • Seafood safety training
  • Seafood cooking classes
  • Seafood sustainability education
  • Seafood marketing and branding education


7. Seafood processing equipment: 

This niche involves businesses that manufacture or sell equipment used in seafood processing, such as filleting machines, scallop shuckers, or crab meat extractors.


Sub Niches:


  • Fish filleting machines
  • Shellfish shuckers
  • Crab meat extractors
  • Seafood packaging equipment

TIP: Have the right target market for your business. It’s important to figure out your ideal customer. When you’re working towards establishing your business, makes things both easier and harder at the same time.

Tips to grow your Seafood Business!

As a seafood business, some of the tips to grow your business. Some of those ways are: 


  • Offer high-quality seafood products to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Offer diverse range of seafood dishes to attract customers with different preferences and tastes
  • Establish an online presence through a website and social media accounts 
  • Deliver and takeout services to increase sales and reach customers 
  • Partner with other businesses such as hotels or event planners
  • Offer promotions and discounts to attract new customers and retain existing ones.
  • Attend industry events, such as seafood trade shows and festivals, to network with businesses and potential customers.
  • Keep an eye on your competitors and their offerings to stay competitive and adapt your business strategies as needed.
  • Provide excellent customer service
  • Commit to sustainable seafood practices to attract customers 

Opportunities you will have in your Seafood business!

Here are a few opportunities that will help you in your business-
  • Peak seasons like Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.
  • You can connect with different restaurants to sell your seafood
  • Major Events
  • Birthday’s and House Party 
  • Good way to network with ship captains and fishermans

TIP: People like coming to clean & hygienic places, keep premises neat & clean. If you are operating from home or at store, make the area clean & safe. Unhygienic products can make your customers fall ill. It will again make you lose your customers.

Seafood Business

Licences needed for your Seafood Business

While essential licenses such as Business Licence, Health and Safety regulations, and Sales Tax Permits apply to almost all businesses (To read more about the licenses, ‘Click Here to read our Mini Guide’). 


Some specific licenses and permits might be needed to open a Seafood Business in the UK and the US. Those licenses are as follows:


1. Health and safety: 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guides seafood businesses to ensure safe working conditions for employees and customers.


2. Seafood processing license: 

If a seafood business processes or prepares seafood, it may need to obtain a seafood processing license from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).


3. Environmental permit: 

If a seafood business discharges waste or pollutants into the environment, it may need an environmental permit from the Environment Agency.


4. Fish seller’s license: 

A fish seller’s license is required for businesses that sell fish at a market or from a mobile van.


5. Seafood dealer license: 

A license is required for businesses that buy and sell seafood.


6. Aquaculture permit: 

A permit is required for businesses that cultivate or farm seafood products.


7. Import/export license: 

A license is required for businesses importing or exporting seafood products from other countries.


8. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan: 

A food safety plan is required for all seafood businesses in the US that handle, process or distribute seafood products.

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Seafood Business

Shall I go for a Seafood Franchise?

Buying an existing Seafood Franchise of a recognized brand is a good idea; however, it is expensive also.

On the other hand, the franchisor will benefit you will all the existing brand image, customer loyalty, advertising, market research & strategies.

In addition, you will get guidance from the franchisor about training the workforce & ambiance of the premises. 

Some of the top Seafood Franchises in the UK and USA:


  • Harry Ramsden’s
  • Loch Fyne
  • The Seafood Company



  • Legal Sea Foods
  • Captain D’s
  • Red Lobster


In conclusion, starting a Seafood Business in the UK and the US can be rewarding and profitable. Conduct thorough market research, a solid business plan, and a secure funding. 

It is crucial to find the right location, choose the right equipment and suppliers, and create a unique and inviting atmosphere for customers. 

Following these steps, you can set your Seafood Business up for success and build a business that customers will love for years.

Want to Save Time in your Business Launch?

  • How to Create a Business Plan
  • What is Market Research, USP, Niche & Positioning
  • How to find a suitable name for your business
  • How to create your brand image (Logo + Branding)
  • How to Register Your Business
  • How to Register for Taxes
  • How to get Licenses / Permits
  • How to Open a Business Bank Account
  • How to Get Business Insurance
  • Which Payment Processing Terminal (POS) to buy
  • How to get Funds for your Business
  • How to do Sales & Marketing – Offline & Online
  • Why have a Website / Blog / Social Media
  • How to build & train your Dream Team
  • How to provide Excellent Customer Service
  • Buying an Old Business Vs Franchisee Vs Own Brand from Scratch

Handpicked inspirational Youtube videos for you

15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Seafood Industry – YT Channel ‘’

Warehouse Ships 200,000 Pounds Of Sustainable Seafood A Month – YT Channel ‘Insider Business’

How Yama Seafood Sells 8,000 Pounds of Tuna to NYC’s Michelin-Starred Restaurants — Vendor – YT Channel ‘Eater’

A. To start a seafood business, you will need to obtain various licenses and permits, including a business license, food service permit, health department permit, and seafood dealer’s license. You may also need to comply with zoning regulations and obtain a commercial fishing license if you plan to catch your own seafood.

A. You can source seafood products from a variety of places, including local fishermen, seafood distributors, and seafood wholesalers. It’s important to research and vet potential suppliers to ensure they meet your quality and sustainability standards.

A. To ensure the quality and freshness of your seafood, you should establish relationships with trusted suppliers who follow best practices for handling and storing seafood. You should also regularly inspect your products and follow proper food safety protocols, including temperature control and proper handling and storage.

A. Some effective marketing strategies for promoting a seafood business include creating a strong brand identity, building relationships with local restaurants and chefs, offering unique and high-quality seafood products, and utilizing social media and other online platforms to reach potential customers.

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