Alaska commercial fishing jobs are still available, but they have become much more competitive to get, and in some cases, require specialized knowledge or skills. Knowing where to go to find these competitive opportunities is a key part of the fishing industry in Alaska. The commercial fishing in Alaska is rich in salmon, halibut, shellfish and bottom fish. The industry plays a central role in the state's economy and is a top employer in the state. Opportunities are still available for those with the drive and desire to fish the waters of the Great Land.
Southeast Alaska: the Panhandle
When looking for commercial fising jobs and opportunities in southeast Alaska, look at Juneau, Ketchikan and Haines. There are robust salmon fisheries in Juneau and Ketchikan. One method to getting crew positions for salmon fishing is to go to the harbors and begin talking to the skippers and captains. Tell them your experience levels or what you are or are not willing to do. Many times jobs are offered on the spot, but you must be prepared to head to sea on a minutes notice with all of your own gear.
Haines has a halibut and bottom fish industry. Again, going to the harbors and talking to the seamen, captains and skippers often leads to commercial fishing jobs and opportunities.
Commercial fishing opportunities on the Kenai Peninsula vary from inland river fishing to ocean based salmon, halibut or shellfishing. Seward Harbor, Homer and Ninilchik are good places to start if seeking opportunities in the salmon, black-cod or halibut fishing industries. Walk the harbors and talk with the captains. Another source for finding fishing jobs and opportunities are the filet workers on the docks. Filet workers cater to tourist and sport fishermen, often fileting their catches and making arrangements for shipping. Because these people work on the docks, they are prime sources of knowledge for who is hiring and who is going out to sea.
Dutch Harbor and the Aleutian Islands
The Aleutians and Dutch Harbor are well known for the king and dungeness crab fishing. The area is featured on "The Most Dangerous Catch" television series. Jobs are difficult to get, and the commercial permits and opportunities are very competitive. Using the State of Alaska job finding tool on the state's website is recommended when trying for crab fishing jobs. It is recommended you have a position lined up before going to the islands because of the expense and distance. Opportunities are still available in "Dutch," but they are becoming increasingly more competitive.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.