Alaskan crab fishermen face a lot of danger as they sail the seas to hunt for the shrimps. They use specific pots that weigh 800 pounds. Most crab fishermen’s boats carry around 300 crab pots and operate for four months. At times, the weather can be conducive for the Alaskan crab fishermen, but other times their lives can be in danger as they face large storms and violent sea conditions. The crab fisherman’s salary is lucrative, but the job conditions aren’t favorable for everyone. In this article, we will see about ‘How Much Does An Alaskan Crab Fisherman Make?’.
How Much Does An Alaskan Crab Fisherman Make?
You must possess a commercial fishing license to make a living as a crab fisherman. According to the Alaska Fishing Employment Center, the salaries for Alaskan crab fishermen can vary depending on their roles. The pay for Crab fishermen in the United States range from $11,043 to $294,395, with a pay of $52,435. The middle 57% of shrimp fishermen earn between $52,435 and $132,077, with the highest paid fisherman making $294,395.
What Are the Shrimp Fisherman Requirements?
While a formal education isn’t a requirement to land in one of the crab fishing boats, having some advanced training may increase your chances of landing the crab fishing job. For instance, you may want to enroll for a two-year degree in fishery technology. These courses cover areas such as marine safety, seamanship, vessel operations, fishing gear technology, navigation, or vessel repair.
In some states, you will get mandatory crab boat training to prepare for the job.
It is worth noting that most employers will offer their recruits the necessary training when they get the job. However, to have a competitive edge over other candidates, experience operating a fishing boat or using crab fishing equipment will help you win the job. Students enrolled in degree programs and located in the coastal areas gain these hands-on skills as part of their program. Also, any direct training in fishing will increase your chances of landing the crab fishing job.
Alaskan Crab Fisher Career Outlook
Analysis of crab fishery observer data indicates that employment for crewmen on crab fishing boats will reduce by 2% from 2018 to 2028. Note that expansion for the crab fishermen depends solely on supply and demand in the market. Also, this is a seasonal job, thus the need to find employment in October through January.
The change from the derby system to the quota system in 2005 decreased the number of fishing boats from 250 to 85, as minimal fishing operations received quotas too small to cover the operating cost. This move made openings on boats more competitive than before.
How Can You Improve as An Alaskan Crab Fisher?
If you’re living in the coastal areas that house commercial fishing companies, then asking at the docks will help you land a fishing job. If you are starting as a crab fisher, then you will have to kickstart your crab hunting journey as a greenhorn. A greenhorn operates cleanup and basic boat maintenance. When you advance, usually by the second season, you will earn the role of a crew member. Experienced crab fishers who possess a license will eventually have a high probability of securing a job as a master licensed crabber.
Apart from having experience in crab fishing, you will need U.S. Coast Guard licensure, Master’s license, CPR, and first aid certification. Some of the special equipment that you will require include gloves, wrist guards, waterproof boots, a sleeping bag, and warm boots.
What Is the Work of An Alaskan Crab Fisher?
The schedule of a crabber begins at 4 a.m. and is maybe 13 hours long. The trappings pots are prepared and pulled within 36 to 48 hours. Teamwork is essential in accomplishing this operation as each pot weighs 800 pounds. As a crabber, you must possess versatile skills such as equipment repair, removing ice from the boat deck, problem-solving, driving the boat, and even cooking.
A crab fisherman operates on a boat using traps, nets, and other fishing equipment to collect shrimps for human consumption. The work involves attaching bait to pots and using a crane to lift these pots into the ocean. The fishers must retrieve their catch by throwing hooks and storing the crabs in storage tanks. The final step is stacking the pots safely onto the boat. Depending on the capacity of a fishing boat and the time it will take to catch crabs, crabbers may stay out in the sea for three to four weeks.
The crab fisherman’s salary is lucrative, but it comes with challenges. However, teamwork, understanding of safety at sea, and attention to detail are essential in this line of work. You must have a commercial fishing permit to earn a salary as an Alaskan crab fisherman. Requirements vary by state, so confirm with the fish and wildlife conservation commission in your area. Having a previous experience as a deckhand or commercial fishing can give you a competitive edge.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- How much do deadliest catch deckhands earn?
According to the former Deadliest Catch experts Cary and Kenny Ripka, crabbers can earn around $150,000 to $170,000 annually. It is worth noting that shrimp fishers don’t earn a salary but are paid based on their catch. This is not the steadiest cash as crab fishing is seasonal.
- How much can one earn on a crab boat?
Most of the crew members get a percentage of their catch in different crab-fishing operations. You can earn as much as $200,000 per year as a crab boat captain during a three-month fishing expedition. Most of the time the fishing expenses are catered for during the fishing season.
- What is the salary for a Greenhorn?
Greenhorns make between 6% to 8% of the overall catch. For example, if the total crab catch is $100,000 worth of king crab, a greenhorn will pocket $6,000 of a crab fishing haul. However, the salary for a greenhorn will eventually reduce as he will have to cater for his gear, food, and fishing permit in advance.