At sea processors, also known as catcher processors, operate as big floating factory that harvest and process fish while at sea. These enormous ships have large crews and cover vast ocean territory. They are an excellent place to work if you can buckle down, stay focused, and enjoy solid paychecks.
At sea processors have streamlined the Alaskan fishing industry. They are set up to be self-sustainable and can stay at sea for months. While at sea they can catch as many fish as the fishery quotas allow and may operate around the clock to get it done. The nets are always out and the processors are always working. It’s a very efficient process that can be broken down into 4 steps:
The ability to do this is why the at sea processors are such an active niche in the Alaskan fishing industry. The sooner a fish is processed and frozen, the fresher it is. This increase in quality and efficiency ultimately make the at sea processor’s final products much more affordable.
While deckhand jobs are available, most entry-level jobs have people work below deck cleaning, gutting, processing, and freezing fish. The day-to-day grind consists of 12 to 16 hour days where you work, eat, sleep, repeat. There isn’t much time for rest and relaxation – although most ships do have lounges if you’re not too exhausted. Also for the hard workers there are lots of opportunities for advancement. (Photo credit: NOAA)
When you are looking for a job on an at sea processor, be sure to research the company’s reputation. Find out if you will be paid hourly or based on the amount of fish that are processed. Either way ship pay usually factors out to be $3,000 to $8,000+ per month. All ships offer employees room and board, but some even pay for your transportation to Alaska. Most ships require you to sign a contract for several months and will require a drug test.
The Keys To Success
At sea processors are big boats, but can become a small space when you live and work with the same people all the time. People from all over the world will be working onboard and a pleasant, friendly attitude is important. If you get along with people, are a team player, have a trusty pair of sea legs, are a hard worker, and enjoy spending your days in wet and cold places, then this floating factory gig is a high paying blast. On the other hand, if you have a history of seasickness, it may be best to consider a job somewhere onshore…
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