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Home » Alaska Fishing and Boat Deckhand Jobs

Alaska Fishing and Boat Deckhand Jobs

Alaska Fishing Boat Deckhand Jobs

Submitted by Roger 
 

Alaska commercial fishing boat photoIf you are adventurous and looking for a unique job experience, then head to sea as a deckhand on an fishing boat in Alaska. Job opportunities are available throughout the year. During the summer months the salmon season is in full swing. Hundreds of small fishing boats harvest salmon near coastal towns ranging from Bristol Bay in the far north to Ketchikan in southeast Alaska. To operate efficiently each of these vessels – trollers, purse seiners, and gillnetters – need between 2 and 3 deckhands in addition to the skipper.

And perhaps you’ve seen the incredible Deadliest Catch show on the Discovery Channel? If not, watch it to learn what Alaska crab fishing jobs are all about – including what a crab boat deckhand endures!

The fishing industry operates year-round in Alaska, so it’s possible to find open deckhand positions or other jobs on fishing boats any time of year. There are herring and halibut fisheries, pollock and other ground-fish fishing seasons. The size of vessel and job descriptions vary somewhat depending on the season and the type of fish being harvested.

On AlaskaFishingJobsNetwork you can learn about each fishery (see: Alaska commercial fishing seasons), the types of commonly used vessels, and a lot more. We outline what a deckhand job entails and give job search advice too.

If you have some experiences or whatever to share with our readers please them to me. Thanks.

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Fishing Industry Overview

Alaska fishing jobs photo

Alaska Fishing Jobs

Absorbing all there is to know about the fishing industry in Alaska, is no easy feat. Thankfully, we’ve done the legwork for you. The fishing industry in Alaska is world-renowned. Out of Alaska alone, 25% of the United State’s commercial fishing industry is supplied. Aside from contributing to the countries consumption of fish, thousands of pounds of seafood are exported to other parts of the world, adding to the significance and opportunity that resides within Alaska’s fishing industry.

Fishery is a term applied to the harvesting method of a certain fish, the area where the fish is found and the season where harvesting that certain fish is at its best. The Alaskan Seafood Industry, as we explain it, is sectored into five Alaska fishing areas and into five fisheries: herring, halibut, ground fish, crab and of course, salmon. Each of these fisheries have different vessels used to harvest fish, different harvesting methods and thus, different jobs. While salmon is perhaps the most discussed and most popular fishery out of Alaska, the other fisheries are doing very well. The Alaska crab industry for example has been bouncing back from record lows in the 1980s, to a successful and plentiful fishery now. Whatever the area you would like to work in, the type of fish or seafood you would like to process or, if your only goal is to simply make good money over the summer – Alaska is a great place to achieve that goal. If you are well prepared, you will be raking in money well earned after a fishing season in Alaska.

Each fishery, or type of fish harvested, exists within the fishing industry differently. Here, we explain the different types of vessels used to catch and harvest these different fish, while also outlining the jobs that are available as a result of these differences. For example, small boats that don’t house their own freezers have to dock with processing ships or bases in order to drop off their catch. Some large vessels however, have their own freezers, so on top of catching fish your duties might also include those that fall under processing. Each type of fish is processed differently and each fishing industry has both large and small businesses that operate within. As you can see, this means a lot of diversity in the type of work the seafood industry in Alaska provides to eager workers.  Generally however, the industry is separated into processors and harvesters, on shore workers and offshore workers. We will explain these differences and the jobs that exist within, in greater detail.

Regardless of the way in which fish are processed (gutted, cleaned and frozen) fish primarily make their way from Alaskan waters, to the mainland United States as well as Japan. These two countries represent the largest purchasers of Alaskan fish. In fact, many of the on shore processors are owned by businesses in the United States as well as in Japan. Often times, the price of fish in Japan drives the salaries of the processors in Alaska. Typically, of the $7 per pound the Japanese pay for processed fish, less than $1 of that will go to the fisherman. While this may seem like very little, fishing jobs in Alaska are still some of the most sought after because of the high salaries they offer workers.

It isn’t uncommon for people in some of the lowest earning brackets within Alaska’s fishing industry to earn salaries over $5,000 in a single season. Not only are workers paid well for their months of hard labor, but also the savings potential is very high. This is true for several reasons. The fishing season is long and often times hard. Some people will work shifts that take place at sea, while others work at on shore processing plants. Twelve-hour workdays can easily turn into an 18-hour workdays. This, along with the isolated nature of the work, mans that there are very few ways (and very little time) in which to spend your money. The type of job you procure, depending on the company who hires you might also take care of your housing, or at least reimburse you at the end of a season for following through with your contract. In any case, the point of working a fishing season in Alaska is for many people, almost entirely about earning money and with such long hours, well paid overtime and few ways to spend your money, most people leave the season with a hefty savings.

 

Dutch Harbor, in the Aleutian Islands is quite a place. Look it up sometime.

Other places to visit about the Aleutian Islands

Area 4 – Aleutian Islands – Commercial and Private Fishing

Bering Sea Alaska photo

Alaska’s Bering Sea

Area 4 includes a very famous part of Alaska, the Alaskan Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands. It stretches 600 miles from the Alaskan shore out to sea in a myriad of islands that are sparsely populated and difficult to arrive at. Additionally, after False Pass the islands continue to sprawl towards Asia for another 1,000 miles making the region rather extensive. The majority of fishing towns, however, are located within 600 miles of shore. The terrain of the area is what you might expect: cloudy, foggy, cold, windy and not particularly picturesque.

It isn’t wise as a first timer to have your sights set on Area 4 fishing. The islands are incredibly treacherous and difficult to get to. Travel into the region is also very expensive and unless you have prearranged travel plans, it isn’t advised to undergo the journey. Most captains and fishing processors running out of Area 4 hire well-established fisherman and industry workers. On top of that, much of the hiring is done out of Seattle with hired workers arriving into Alaska via travel plans made by, and provided by their employers.

Deckhands, as well, are highly sought after positions in the region and it is typically wise to generate experience and connections for yourself in a region other than Area 4 during your job hunt or first time out.

Some of Area 4’s larger towns include: Dutch Harbor, King Cove and Unalaska.

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