Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Commercial fishing yea / nay?

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    PNW Tacoma
    Posts
    2

    Default Commercial fishing yea / nay?

    This post is about deep water commercial fishing.

    So I am a real amateur crabber and Puget Sound salmon troller looking for a change of scene and I a wanted to stretch my sea legs and head out to sea for a while.

    I have been looking at commercial fishing, but the only thing I can get without commercial deckhand experience is a fish packer on a trawler in the Bering.

    No prob everybody has to pay their dues, but I have had a few contemplations.

    1.) I find online that bottom trawlers are a killer on the underwater ecosystem, tearing up habitats. Is this a load of bollocks or is it a real problem?


    2.) People talking about Global Warming and how its affecting fishing. Are there any commercial fishers out there who are seeing a steady decline in pay rates?

    3.) Does $10k-12k for 90 days of 128 hr/ wk sound reasonable for starting out? A couple hispanic buddies are always bragging of making WAAY more.

    4.) I imagine Long line fishing has a much less negative impact on the eco, any thoughts?

  2. #2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dimmthewitted View Post
    This post is about deep water commercial fishing.

    1.) I find online that bottom trawlers are a killer on the underwater ecosystem, tearing up habitats. Is this a load of bollocks or is it a real problem?


    2.) People talking about Global Warming and how its affecting fishing. Are there any commercial fishers out there who are seeing a steady decline in pay rates?

    3.) Does $10k-12k for 90 days of 128 hr/ wk sound reasonable for starting out? A couple hispanic buddies are always bragging of making WAAY more.

    4.) I imagine Long line fishing has a much less negative impact on the eco, any thoughts?
    First lets just state that Alaska is a resource based economy and pretty much any resource development/harvesting is going to catch flak from the greenies.

    1) Trawlers are a little hard on the bottom, but they are getting better. There are billions of pounds of bottom fish out there that they can't even touch because they usually exceed their halibut bycatch shortly after the pollock season. Arrow Tooth flounder is the biggest biomass and we are barely touching the resource. They have gotten a lot better at reducing bycatch the past couple years though. Basically because they have found ways to stabalize the arrow tooth and make surimi out of it, which raised the price to around $.05 a pound. Like any business man they see a potential profit and are working at ways to bring it to the dock. (That's a pretty simple explanation and there are hundreds of other variables that go into it)

    2) Most of the fisheries in Alaska are certified Sustainable by the international watch-dog from the UN (I believe its a UN based organization). With IFQs, and other federal schemes to divy up the resource there are less boats and lower wages for the crew.

    3) I work that out to about $7.30 an hour. Our land based processors are paying around $8.25. Some include food and housing, but be careful because some consider housing to be the local shelter.

    4) Obviously longliners have less impact on the ecosystem. They also can't come close to landing the tonnage that a trawler can. They are better suited for halibut, p-cod and sablefish as far as gear type. They can also bring a better product to the dock because its individually handled and not brought up in a huge mass.

    Another option would be to get your experience on a salmon seiner or at a gillnet site. It's only a summer gig, but would give you some experience. As far as getting on a halibut or crab boat, good luck. There are a lot of out of work fisherman due to the reduction in fleet and they have years of experience. Hope that helps and Good luck with whatever you decide.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    19

    Default Bottom trawlers

    My wife is a marine biologist and she told me that bottom trolling kills the bottom habitats and destroys coral reefs, and that Alaska has a unique type of cold water coral.

  4. #4
    Member MRFISH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,315

    Default a whole different ballgame...

    This probably isn't the right place to be asking these questions, most folks are here to talk about sport fishing.

    But I have some experience with the Bering Sea groundfish fisheries, so here goes...

    First of all, TBinKodiak is right, on most points. Not all trawl fishing is hard-on-bottom trawling (most flatfish, like yellowfin and rock sole and a few other species are targeted this way) but some are done with mid-water trawls (like pollock, one of the largest, by volume, fisheries).

    On the hours and pay...you can sometimes make more, but there is (usually) no minimum guarantee -- you're getting paid a precentage of the value of the catch (often after expenses are deducted). The folks doing the hiring will not want you to have unrealistic expectations. Usually, you will have to sign a contract for 90 days (but the term can vary) and you can usually extend after that...but if you quit during your contract, your pay rate is affected -- this should all be spelled out in advance. If you can't get your terms (% or whatever) up front, then watch out.

    Those jobs aren't for everyone. In fact, it's a small portion of the applicants that can do the job well and stick with it over time. I don't quite know about the 128 hrs per week (that comes out to over 18 hours a day). It's usually more like 16 hrs/day (if that's any consolation)...but you're out on a boat in the middle of the Bering Sea, so there really isn't anywhere to spend your money -- or much else to do in your time off.

    Good Luck. It doesn't hurt to ask around about the boat or company that you're considering signing on with...if they have much of a reputation (good or bad), you'll hear about it.

  5. #5
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Eagle River/ Juneau
    Posts
    5,154

    Default

    get everything in writing if you crew.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  6. #6
    New member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    PNW Tacoma
    Posts
    2

    Default Im going for it

    So I am signed with the Fishing Company of Alaska based out of Seattle if anyone has heard of them.

    They have a fleet of 7, 4 trawlers and 32 long liners.

    Unfortunately, they say their trawlers net all the way to rock bottom; but thankfully it looks like I am going to be coming up and going out next week on a long liner.

    Its 12 hrs on 6 hrs off / 12 on 6 off, a bit grueling and slightly underpaid, but I guess I have to start somewhere since its so late in the summer.

    Signed up for a 90 day and I have all my pay and rights in writing.


    Thanks for the advice,

    Maybe I can get some time for some charter fishing if I get into port.

    DiMM

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,293

    Default

    I've been on both FCA longliners. They are pretty nice for factory longliners. Good food, little rooms. Be nice to your fisheries observer, and be safe.

  8. #8
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Eagle River/ Juneau
    Posts
    5,154

    Default

    good luck hopefully it'll open some opportunities that are less drudgery and better paying!
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •