Follow the following advice below and you might just become a successful commercial fisherman in Alaska.
AlaskaJobFinder delivers the goods with dozens of interviews with deckhands, processing plant workers, and others who have worked seasonally or have careers in the Alaska seafood industry.
In this Q&A interview, find out what it’s like to work on a salmon gillnetter, how much deckhands earn, and tricks for getting hired.
How much experience do you have in the Alaska Seafood industry?
I have fifteen years of experience. I started fishing in my family’s fishing operation.
What is a typical day like on the fishing boat?
We wake up and have coffee. I usually haul the anchor. We run to an open spot and wait to fish (we can only fish at certain times). After delivery we eat, sleep, and repeat.
Did you receive any special training or preparation for this job?
No special training was required. The controls on the back deck are easy to use. A pedal operates the reel and a lever controls the power roller.
What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
Waiting standby for a plane out of there when the season is over!
Besides "on the job" experience, are there any personal qualities you would need in order to get into this unique line of work?
The ability to handle downtime well, and being able to function during odd fishing hours, such as two tides a day.
What would be your number one tip for someone looking for a fishing job?
Try working first in fishery-related jobs such as gear work or processing.
Describe the living arrangements and how you deal with sharing space.
There are four bunks in the bow, and the cabin has a table which can seat four people. Down time usually means the crew members are reading in their bunks or at the table.
Describe the typical "greenhorn" experience. What can they expect in the way of treatment, pay, etc.?
Most skippers expect an amount of slowness from first-timers, but want improvements as the season progresses. Pay will be less on the first season.
On the occasion you have down time, how do you spend it?
Watching movies or reading.
What are the biggest misperceptions newcomers have about these jobs?
That all fisheries are just like Deadliest Catch seems to be a common misconception.
Would you recommend this line of work to others, if so, then why?
Fishing is great if you don’t mind hard work and odd hours. Good money and lots of off time are a plus.
What personal benefits/rewards do you find from working in the Alaska fishing industry?
You learn how hard you can push yourself.
What did you dislike about working on a fishing vessel?
Canned food and the tight quarters.B
What do you and the other crew do to keep a positive attitude?
We tell jokes and avoid screaming orders and try to keep the stress to a minimum.
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