Alaska Commercial Fishing Jobs

There is a myth out there that the state of Alaska will pay you just to move to the Last Frontier. While the government won’t dispense any of the Alaska Permanent Dividend Funds unless you establish solid long-term residency, plenty of private fishing companies do hire eager, hardworking men and women from the lower 48 each year. Alaska commercial fishing jobs are popular with adventure-seeking college students, child-free single folks, and people who just want a temporary change of pace. Most of the jobs are seasonal, though some people can procure permanent work by way of a summer start. It’s a gruff and gritty way to make a living, but it can be profitable. After all, there are few ways to spend the dough you’re “netting” while you’re futzing with fish in a remote corner of Alaska. So, whether you are saving for education, paying down your debt, or just wanting to upend your minimum wage existence, consider Alaska commercial fishing jobs.

What types of jobs can I get?

Alaska commercial fishing jobs are available at every step of the industry’s chain. Think about it. People have to catch the fish or crabs, transport them, and process them (in various forms, including canned). Deck hands are needed on the boats themselves, and these jobs, while especially grueling, often pay the best when harvests are bountiful. It is possible, though by no means guaranteed, to make $1000-1500 a week on a boat crew. Newcomers are regularly hired for these positions, though people experienced with harvesting are often selected first.

For a more predictable but generally slightly lower income, say $750-950 a week, processing (i.e. fish factory) jobs also abound during the summer. You’ll find that some processing is done on floating factories while other processing is done on-shore. It depends on the sector in which you’re working – location, type of fish, timeframe, etc. These jobs are easier to land without even setting foot on Alaskan soil (or ice, as it were).

Regardless of the exact position you pursue, these Alaska commercial fishing jobs are not easy. Tasks can be repetitive and grueling while the backdrop remains stark and lonely. Imagine ten hour days spent performing hard labor on a rocky fishing boat – or hours frittered away with fresh salmon or shrimp in a remote factory. You’ll get paid well, but you’ll earn every dollar.

I don’t mind working hard and handling fish all day, but how do the logistics of Alaska commercial fishing jobs pan out?

If you like the tasks and you are free to relocate, at least temporarily, to Alaska, you may be wondering about the whos, whats, whens, wheres, and hows. How do you get there? And where is “there” anyway? Who pays you? Where do you sleep? What will you eat (besides fish)?

By and large, the commercial fishing industry in Alaska recognizes that over half of their seasonal employees are coming from out-of-state and need accommodations. Many companies provide spartan room and board for low or not cost, either deducting it from your paycheck or just giving it to you as a benefit of employment. In many cases, they’ll also cover transportation to and from Seattle or Anchorage, though you’ll want to read through all the terms of your contract.

Different regions of Alaska have slightly different fishing sub-industries and timeframes that coincide. For many Alaska commercial fishing jobs, which are seasonal in nature, the summer is the peak season. However, fall and spring work isn’t impossible to come by either. Alaska has a longer coastline than any other state, and they fish along almost all of it. Where you end up getting placed depends on who hires you and what their needs are.

Okay�I really want to do this. So how do I get hired?

While it’s possible to head to Seattle or Anchorage and seek out a position from one of these closer vantage points (or even to show up at a company’s headquarters and get hired on the spot), it’s actually easiest and most prudent to apply from the comfort from your home in the Lower 48. Because thousands of people are hired every year, many of the companies have an online application process. They’ll check your background, call your references, do an “interview” by phone to ensure you understand the terms of the job and are capable of fulfilling all the job requirements, physical or otherwise. Once you’re hired you’ll receive all the information you need – – what to bring, where to be, and when.

To link up with the various fishing companies themselves – from the huge processors to the “little guy” boats led by seasoned skippers – you’ll want to enlist the help of a website that specializes in Alaska commercial fishing jobs. The vast majority of these services are legitimate, and while they won’t guarantee a placement, they give you as many contacts and tips as you can handle. Alaska fishing job websites usually charge a small fee ($15 – 30) for access to a database full of companies that want to hire greenhorns (that’s what they call people without experience). Some of the best and most frequently used include:

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