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Crab Fishing in Alaska

Start a discussion on the Alaskan crabbing trade, and it won’t take long before somebody chimes in. The crabbing industry in Alaska is renowned. The industry’s remarkable earning potential and perilous working environment draw awe and consternation in equal measure. It’s no surprise that an industry which offers lofty income draws lots of attention, but it has caught the imagination of adventurers as well.  Thereby corralling an audience interested in both money and the adventures on the sea.

America’s most dangerous job?

Research revealed commercial fishing topped the list of deadliest jobs in the US with fishers facing a mortality rate as high as 33 times the average US employee.  Drowning and hypothermia were identified as the leading causes of fatalities. However, the dangers associated with crab fishing were lessened in 2005 after the implementation of fishing regulations. Previous rules didn’t aim control on overfishing, but in the new regulation standards, the government set cap to the maximum number of crabs’ fishers could amass. As a result of the regulations, some fishing seasons are as short as three days and boats are lined up long before the fishing season commences. Crabbers work around the clock, and sometimes in dreadful weather. Previously, boats would overload as a consequence of the limited time frame allowed for fishing resulting in deaths as evidenced by an average death toll of five crabbers annually between 1990 and 2005.

Alaska crab fishing jobs and what to expect

Before embarking on the journey of crab fishing, you must learn about the realities of the work environment and job market, which require immense dedication. Fishers spend long hours in cold, long, wet and risky conditions. Ignoring perils such as yearly death tolls and missing boats spells doom for potential anglers. The job is physically demanding as it entails lots of lifting and operation of heavy machinery, which perhaps sounds no different, compared to other physical jobs, but the long working hours for sure don’t make things any easier. On a good note, not all jobs in this industry entail physicality. You may start working as a crab processor which is a brilliant way to start learning the craft. As you gain experience and connections, it paves the way for working as a crabber in the Alaskan waters. A good meal is often said to be the best part of the fishermen’s experience; therefore, excellent cooking skills are a huge plus.

Government Intervention

The implementation of catch shares has helped in the protection of crab population for the future. Furthermore, the reduced race against time resulted in the younger female crabs being returned to the waters by the fishers unharmed. Also, locations with many juveniles are avoided, and fishing is done elsewhere instead. The government interventions resulted in increased incomes for fishers due to the additional time permitted for fishing.