Crab Fishing Facts

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The Crew

  • More than 80 percent of the fatalities Alaskan fishermen suffer on the job are due to drowning -- either from falling overboard or as a result of a boat accident.
  • A crewman's wages are often based on a share or percentage of harvest earnings. A greenhorn may earn anywhere from 1.5 to 5 percent of the net value of the harvest, after operating expenses and the owner's and skipper's shares (often totalling 50 percent or more) have been subtracted.
  • When based on percentage of net profit, an Alaskan fisherman may earn somewhere between zero and tens of thousands of dollars, depending on location and type of fishery and the worker's skills. Other boats offer a daily rate (typically $50 to $100 per day) instead.
  • According to the Alaska Department of Labor, crew members are typically expected to purchase their own gear, which can add up to several hundred dollars. This includes wet-weather gear ($100 per set), rubber boots ($40 to $70 per pair), gloves ($2 to $12 per pair), wrist covers or sleeves ($5 per set) and a sleeping bag ($70 to $200).
  • In addition, some crew members are charged a share of their boat's operating expenses -- food, fuel, bait and ice.
  • In Alaska, crew members are responsible for obtaining their own commercial fishing licenses, the cost of which can range between $60 and $125, depending on whether the individual is a state resident or not.

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