Alaska fishing jobs are some of the best jobs around. Imagine a job where you make good money, plus you can feel good about yourself at the end of the day because you’re putting food on people’s tables. In fact Alaska supplies 25% of the commercial fishing in the United States. That’s a lot.
The easiest commercial Alaskan fishing jobs to find are those at onshore processing plants. Working in a processing plant is a life-changing experience. As you can imagine, you can’t just eat the salmon or fish that you catch right out of the ocean. They have to be caught, brought to the processing plant, gutted, cleaned, frozen, maybe canned, and shipped off again. That’s a lot of work. And there are dozens of different processing plants.
You may work onshore at a major processing plant or get a job offshore working on a bigger ‘floating’ harbored near the fishing grounds. It’s easiest to find a job onshore on your first trip to the Alaska fishing world. But onshore is great. You’ll typically meet lots of other cool, adventurous people just like you. Some plants are close to the amenities of larger towns like Juneau, Kodiak, or Kenai. And on your days off or at times when the fishing’s slow, you’ll be able to go explore the wilds of Alaska.
Now before you sign up for this fairy tale dream job, you need to know what it means to work at a salmon processing plant. It means long 12 to 18 hour days, with pay ranging from around $9.75 to $11 per hour. But you’ll make overtime at a time and a half – close to $17 per hour – plus performance bonuses and returning bonuses. Employer policies vary widely. After two months, that really adds up. This is especially true if your food and lodging is partially or wholly subsidized.
The actual labor varies too. You may work in a warehouse or a freezer, drive a fork lift, load trucks, dock crew, office staff, egg house, filler, cook, patching table, iron chink machine, slime table, fish grader, gut puller, washer, weighed, sorter, sooner, head decapitator, belly slitter, glazer, packer, and this is just the start of the list. And, yes, some Alaska fishing industry jobs are more glorious than others.
If you’re truly considering working onshore at a salmon processing plant, you should. Working in Alaska is a great way to make a quick buck, meet cool people, and explore the last frontier. It’s an adventure.