Alaska Seasonal Job Opportunities
Autumn in Alaska means the end of the bustling salmon season and a shift to a variety of other fisheries throughout the state. Numerous Alaska seafood employment opportunities exist during this period in all three major sectors of the industry – onshore processing plants, offshore processing vessels, and harvesting vessels.
Factory trawlers harvest during most of the fall, winter, and spring months. In fact, the most lucrative time to work on a factory trawler is during the Pollock A season, which extends from late January through February.
Factory longliners also harvest the bulk of their fish during these non-summer months. The majority of crab are caught during the late fall and early winter months by both individual crabbing boats and the larger crab catcher/processors. During the fall and spring months hundreds of boats also fish for halibut, sablefish, and a variety of species of groundfish. In addition, the sac roe herring fishery also takes place during spring.
While fewer fishing and processing positions exist during winter, far fewer people are looking for jobs, so your chances of getting hired during the winter are still excellent. However, winter hiring practices are generally different from summer salmon hiring practices. First, almost all winter hiring is done from the corporate offices, usually located in Seattle. Because the onshore facilities are generally located in more remote locations, very little hiring is done at the facilities.
It is not recommended that you travel to Alaska seeking employment during the non-summer months without a prearranged job. Secondly, the majority of winter employees are provided free room and board and round-trip transportation from Seattle, a benefit not as often afforded summer workers. A third major difference in winter hiring practices is that the employers are often looking for a longer commitment.
For example, in the summer fisheries, some companies offer contracts that are six to eight weeks in length. In the winter fisheries, many companies require three- to six-month contracts.
Finally, most processing work is either done offshore or in onshore processing facilities in Region 3 (Kodiak Island) and Region 4 (Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands). Because Region 3 lends itself to a more permanent, year-round processing crew, Region 4 should be your main focus for onshore processing positions during the fall, winter, and spring months.
The bustling town of Dutch Harbor in Region 4 is the hub of the non-summer fishing industry. If you desire an offshore processing position during these non-summer months, such as on a factory trawler, floating processor, factory longliner, or crab catcher/processor, please refer to the sections regarding these opportunities.