Fishing Harvesting Crew Jobs
Harvesting fish and other aquatic species can be thought of the last, but most important step in aquaculture.
While a fish farm with landlocked ponds may rely on technicians to collect fish, fish farms utilizing cages or nest at sea require a fishing boat and its crew to harvest the fish. Some fish farm operations involve resupplying wild species supplies. So a fishing crew is required to harvest these fish as well. Whether fishing for wild stocks or harvesting populations form managed fish farms, fishing crew members must gather a quota of aquatic species to send for processing and eventually hit the consumer market.
Fishing crews are generally divided into boat captains and deck hands. The skippers may own their boats or be employed by other owners for the purpose of fulfilling a fishing employment contract. The fishing boat deckhands do the brunt of the physical labor on a fishing vessel.
Educational requirements for fishing crew members are generally non necessary as most of the traits required are learned on the job. Individuals interested in becoming a skipper may be able to speed up the process by taking courses in navigation, weather forecasting or equipment maintenance, but working with experienced fishermen is generally the most important requirement.
Salaries for a fishing boat captain range based on a number of variables. On average, approximately $40,000 per year is a decent assumption. The species fished for, location, company worked for, willingness to spend time at sea and the ability to find fish in wild areas all factor into the salary a captain can bring in.
Salary expectations vary widely for fishing crew members from week to week and season to season. Deckhands generally are paid a percentage of the entire catch of their boat over a set time period. Typical weekly earnings can fluctuate from about $300 weekly to as much as $1,000 or more. Weather conditions, fish locations and local regulations can all impact whether a deckhand makes good money or not. Health care benefits are generally not provided, a fact not to be ignored due to the difficult working conditions. The only benefits generally provided are food and board while on the boat.
Fishing crew members usually supplement their income through other jobs while they are not fishing.
Working conditions onboard a fishing boat change from day to day and trip to trip. Weather can change quickly and, depending on the boat’s proximity to shore and the fishing action, a skipper may not be able to skip poor weather conditions. Therefore, fishing crew members must be able to work in all conditions and for long periods of time. If the fishing is good, the crew will not stop until the boat is full.
Fishing crew members must be in good health and be fit for tasks such as handling heavy equipment and nets full of fish. They must also have an aptitude for mechanical work, as repairing gear and fixing equipment must be done on the fly while out to sea.
Fishing crew members also must be able to get along with a wide variety of people and diverse personalities for extended periods of time. Maintaining positive relationships for long periods of time on a cramped boat increases the chances of not only achieving a successful financial season, but securing future opportunities on a specific boat.