One of the best places to look for entry-level jobs in the Alaskan fishing industry is at onshore seafood processing plants. There are dozens of them in the five fishing regions of Alaska. Every season, millions of fish are caught in the coastal Alaskan waters. They may be salmon, halibut, black cod, or pollock. Whatever type of fish it is, someone has to clean, gut, freeze, can, and process that fish. Working in an onshore seafood processing plant may not be the most glorious job, but it certainly pays the bill. And someone has to do it, why not you?
There are different types of onshore seafood processing plants in Alaska, but they are often classified as either fresh-frozen plants or canneries (or some do both). In general terms, fresh-frozen plants produce frozen fish, fillets, and other specialty fish products, while canneries “can” the fish.
A major goal of the onshore fish processing plants is to process as many fish as possible to keep up with the amount of fish being harvested. During peak season, many processing plants will operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week. If fish aren’t processed soon after they are delivered from the fishing fleet, the quality of the fish deteriorates.
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The processors buy fish from fishing boats or tender boats. The fish are unloaded, processed, and ultimately frozen or canned so they can be shipped around the world.
Processors are an integral part of the billion-dollar fishing industry. Without them, the entire industry would collapse.
There are lots of different ways to spend your time in the processing plant. Most Alaska processors rotate people between jobs. On any given day, you may find yourself in a freezer, on the dock, or inside a warehouse. The work can be cold, wet, and monotonous, but you will get to do a variety of jobs on the “slime line” or elsewhere around the plan, like:
The workday can last 12 to 18 hours, and you might work 7 days a week. Most workers make minimum wage $10.85/hr. to $18+ per hour. With incentive bonuses and overtime pay, it adds up quickly. Overtime pay is paid for any hours worked over eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. Overtime is paid at time and a half. So if your base pay is $12/hr. then you would be paid $18/hr. for your overtime hours. A sixteen-hour workday at this pay rate would gross a worker $240 for the day. During peak season, onshore processing workers can each $1,200 to $1,500+ per week.
Finding a job at an onshore fishing processing plant in Alaska is not too challenging because workers are always in demand and hardly any training is required. Most jobs do not require any previous experience and onshore processing companies are primary looking for people who are hard workers.
In the Members Section of AlaskaJobFinder we provide you with some proven tips and strategies for getting onshore processing jobs in Alaska. We also provide you with strategies on how to “follow the fish” to help you maximize your earnings while working in Alaska.
In the Members Section, you will find detailed hiring information for each of the Alaska onshore processing plants. Our detailed onshore processing plant profiles help you research onshore fishing processors before you apply. They all operate differently, and it’s important to find one that appeals to you.
Most onshore processors are located in major seaports like Seward, Petersburg, Ketchikan, Naknek, or Kodiak. One advantage of working onshore is that you get to live in town and have a social, happy Alaskan life. The people you meet and the lifelong friends you create are one of the best parts of this job.
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