Commercial fishing jobs come in many forms including captains, deckhands, engineers, and other specialties. In addition to fishing jobs, employment opportunities exist in sectors that support the commercial fishing industry.

Commercial Fishing Jobs FAQ

The following are frequently asked questions about commercial fishing jobs and employment.

I don’t have experience but I want to work on a commercial fishing boat. What should I do?

In many cases captains will not hire a stranger with no experience. A good idea is to try and get some basic time on the water as well as other employment experience. Do you have experience in a related field? Do you know anyone who works in commercial fishing? Can they act as a reference of your past employment experiences? Document your work experience and keep an updated resume.

How can I find commercial fishing jobs in Alaska?

State of Alaska Job Center Network

NOAA Vessel Employment (Pacific Fleet)

Alaska Fishing Jobs Center

Alaskan Observers

Where I find commercial fishing jobs outside the USA?

Canada Job Bank

What about jobs on at-sea processing vessels?

Most positions are for entry level processing workers. Learn more about working aboard a catcher/processor on or the links listed in this article.

What kinds of jobs are related to commercial fishing?

There are a wide range of jobs that relate to commercial fishing. These include all the trades that support commercial fishing operations such as equipment sales and service, marine electronics, mechanical repair, boat building and repair, marina services, welding, refrigeration, trucking, ice and bait production, seafood processing, aquaculture, and other trades.

What are commercial fishing observers and where do they work?

Observers work on commercial fishing vessels, fish processing factories or dredging vessels to monitor effects of those activities on natural resources.

For more information regarding fisheries observers in the United States, visit the National Observer Program’s website. In addition, fisheries observer programs occur internationally.

I would like to work as a commercial fishing vessel observer. What should I do?

There are about 40 observer programs in Canada. For detailed information on specific programs contact the Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

These links have information on USA commercial fishing observer programs:

U.S National Observer Program

U.S National Observer Program providers-employers

Association for Professional Observers

Alaskan Observers

Commercial Shark Fishery Observer Program (CSFOP)

Northeast Fishery Observer Program (NEFOP)

I want to get training that will prepare me for a job in the commercial fishing field. What can I do?

Check with your local community college or with programs of colleges that serve fishing communities. Some excellent credit and non-credit courses are offered in several American and International colleges and universities.

How do I network with people in the industry to help me find a job in the commercial fishing field?

There are several good ways to network with people in the industry. These are some examples:

1. IMPORTANT! Visit trade shows, expos, and working waterfront events. Talk to people in the industry including captains, fishermen, regulators, equipment manufacturers, and others. Be courteous, ask questions, shake hands, and exchange contact information.

2. Attend training seminars and learn the basics of safety, regulations, fishing, navigation, and technology.

3. Attend local and regional public meetings that relate to commercial fishing. These include regulatory meetings, scoping meetings, safety seminars and other events.

4. Join social networks and note on your profile that you seek work in the industry. Join commercial fishing and seafood groups on social networks.


Related Information

Commercial Fisheries

Regional Fishing




Glossary of Terms

Commercial Fishing Boats

Gear and Equipment