Now is a wonderful time to get in on the newest boom in the Alaskan fishing industry - longline catcher processors, aka factory longliners. This is one of the fastest growing niches in Alaska. It's so big that other boats are converting to factory longliners. With a growing number of boats, there are more longline catcher processor jobs than ever before.
Longliners primarily harvest Pacific cod, but also catch halibut, black cod, and other groundfish and bottomfish. The boats are 90 to 200 feet and use a crew of about 20 to 30 people. It can be cramped quarters and the smaller boats do tend to get rocked in rough weather.
Longline catcher processors are cool because they catch fish, but they also have the facilities to process the catch directly on board. This speeds up the process and makes for a cool all-in-one operation. Some longliners can even freeze the fish that they catch in the high seas of Gulf of Alaska or the Bering Sea.
Factory longliners tend to operate about 10 months per year, so anyone who works on a longliner has 10 months of income and 2 months to go and play. The typical year starts out in January when the fishery seasons begin and the rough calendar looks something like this:
Most people working on a longliner are either processors or deckhands.
Processors clean, gut, freeze, and store the fish after it is caught. Deckhands work on deck. They provide the man power and run the gear that ultimately catches the fish. They need to be good with knots and lines and also have good hand-eye coordination.
There are more entry-level positions for processors, but it's not too hard to learn the skills and get promoted.
Paychecks get big when you work long hours on a boat. It's typical to work 18 hours on, 6 hours off. Processors can pull in $3,000 to $6,000 per month and deckhands often earn $8,000+ per month.
The money is good. The schedule is great. The job is fun. The industry is booming. And there are jobs to be had. There are no excuses to not look for you next job on a longline catcher processor.
In the Members Section of AlaskaJobFinder we provide you some proven tips and strategies for landing the best factory longliner jobs. We also have detailed hiring information for each of the companies.