Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Fishing Business in Singapore

Starting a Fishing Business in SingaporeFishing has been a primitive human activity to obtain fish as food. Commercial fishing is the activity of catching fish and other seafood sources and marketing them. Many people love to enjoy seafood, based on seafood consumption worldwide. Thus, starting a fishing business may seem like a reasonable idea.
A fishing business may encompass a combination of the following:

  • Catching fish
  • Storing onboard fish vessels
  • Processing raw fish (onboard if possible)
  • Marketing to consumers

Fishing activities are naturally subject to natural conditions as catching fish may only be done in a body of water. Several natural conditions that may affect any fishing activities are wind speeds and ocean waves in the open waters, heavy rain and flood in rivers and lakes, or storms wherever there are pools of water. Individual fishing may only catch a few kinds of seafood depending on its vessel and fishing equipment on board. Commercial fishing would be able to capture more if the weather permits.

With the rise of seafood and fish consumption in Singapore, more are interested in the possibilities of a fishing business. Foreign and local investors looking into the fishing businesses can get an idea of what the fishing industry in Singapore looks like. Here is the guide on starting a fishing business in Singapore, which explains the industry practice, business registration, licenses, and permits.


Fishing Business Practice

Despite its population of 2.2 million people, Singaporeans love their seafood. Hence, most of its seafood is imported from neighboring countries. But the government is determined to source at least 30 percent of its food locally. This determination is slowly becoming a reality as the target dateline is by 2030; hence, the initiative is called 30 by 30. More fish farms are being built instead of fishing for fish in the sea and designated areas within the island territories.

Fishing for fish and seafood in the open waters surrounding Singapore is not entirely impossible. If you plan to start a fishing business in Singapore, you could choose between the two fishery ports: Jurong Fishery Port (JFP) or Senoko Fishery Port (SFP). These are the only ports that are for fishing. It also provides related services to foreign and local fishing vessels.

Besides being a port, these ports also market and sell fresh fish directly to consumers. Most of the buyers are wholesalers, which will further sell them down the supply chain. The Jurong Fishery Port is the larger of the two and is an international port for foreign fishing vessels to land their catch. It also handles seafood imports and sells chilled fish.

Jurong Fishery Port operates around the clock, but it has specific hours for marketing and distribution. You may need to check with the relevant authorities or engage with 3E Accounting as your Singapore corporate service provider. The other fishery port is Senoko Fishery Port. It has similar functions as the JFP, but there is a limit for the operating hours. It is the home base for Singapore’s local fishing fleet.


Registering the Fishing Business

Before you gear up to catch fish in the open sea, abide by the law and register your business. Potential business owners of a fishing business in the city-state will need to get in touch with company incorporation services in SG. This is to avoid confusion or setbacks in preparing the relevant supporting documentation. However, it is essential to know how it goes. The first and foremost step is to register your company with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

After getting a Unique Entity Number (UEN), you can either open a corporate bank account or apply for specific licenses needed to begin fishing. Since the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) is in charge of the industry, they will be approving the licenses and permits. Yet, the fishing vessel and fishing gear also require specific registration and permits. If you are beginning to squint at these tasks, hand it over to guide in company registration in SG to help out.


Fishing Business Licenses for Vessel and Fishing Gear

Since there are two fishery ports available in Singapore, it is essential to know all permits and licenses needed. All fishing vessels will need to apply for an entry permit, port clearance, and berthing space. Besides these, commercial fishing vessels and fishing gear will require a license before operations. Individuals involved in fishing activities must also register with the Singapore Food Agency.

All fishing vessel operators must apply for a license. The license is renewable annually, but it is based on the vessel’s gross tonnage. This type of license applies to inboard fishing vessels. If you are also the boat owner, you will need to complete and submit specific forms to SFA within a month of the approved license.

If you happen to have new fishing gear onboard or apply for a fishing gear license, the fees will be a one-time fee. Should your licensed fishing vessel have no change in fishing gear, you will need to provide the SFA with such a declaration. As a vessel operator that may bring along a few crew on board, the SFA requires everyone to be registered. The registration fee per person is $14 and is valid for a year. All registrations must be renewed before it expires.


Permission to Enter

Now, let’s get to the entry permit. To enter Jurong Fishery Port or Senoko Fishery Port, you and your fishing crew (if any) will need to apply for an entry permit. The entry permit can be renewed annually. Hence you may enter either of the ports throughout the year the permit is valid. This permit applies to all personnel entering both ports.

As for foreign fishing vessels wishing to enter either of these ports, the entry permit is a restricted version. The permit validity is one year and can be renewed annually. Upon arrival at either of the two ports, local or foreign vessels must report arrival. These vessels then must apply for port clearance to enter the port. The fees for each port differ from one another and are applicable to foreign or local ships.

Most fishing vessels arriving at the port will need a berth to unload their catch. Thus, upon arrival, local and foreign fishing vessels will need to pay for berthing space. Each fishery port charges differently for foreign or local ships based on their size. Larger vessels of more than 40 meters will need to pay more than those smaller than 40 meters.

The fishing industry in Singapore may not be a significant one, but it is highly regulated. It ensures that every party involved is protected. If you have questions that undermine your plan on starting a fishing business in Singapore, you may contact us right away.

Starting a Fishing Business in Singapore