In 2004 there were about 2,400 professional fishers at sea and about 800 fishers practised their trade on inland waters. For more than 65 per cent of them fishing is a part-time occupation.
According to the Fishing Act, professional fisher is a person who earns at least 30 per cent of the regular total income from fishing and processing of the catch. Persons whose income from fishing represents over 15 per cent of their income have similar obligations as professional fishers regarding the reporting of the catch and regulation of fishing.
Employment and Economic Development Centres and the Provincial Government of Åland maintain a national fishing register on vessels used by professional fishers. On 1 January 2005 the register included 3,393 fishing vessels, 24 of them more than 24 metres long. In the beginning of March 2006 the total capacity of the fishing vessels was 16,868 gross tonnes and 170,724 kilowatts.
The number of registered fishing vessels decreased from 3,574 in 2003 to 3,393 in 2005.