BBRSDA Offers Advice on How to Fill Work Crews in the Bristol Bay Fishery

As commercial fishermen gear up for the current Bristol Bay salmon fishery, along with the usual forecast of a robust season involving the harvest of millions of sockeye salmon, the demand for good, hard-working crew is a priority.

While many vessel owners and skippers rely on the same crew each year, others may be scrambling to fill crew slots. The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association is offering guidelines on how to get those jobs.

First of all, anyone who helps with the commercial harvest of salmon in Alaska must have a crew member license. For Alaska residents, the cost is $60. For out-of-state residents, the cost is $252.

Crew members should be sure to have a printed copy of that license, plus a photo ID, with them onboard fishing vessels. Information about crew member licenses and how to get one is online at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website,

Places to look for a Bristol Bay salmon fishing crew job include:

  • Bristol Bay Crew, 
  • Alaska allows free job postings, promotes the benefits of crew jobs and offers recruiting tools for Alaska employers, at 
  • The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development lists information on deckhand and other fishing vessel jobs at
  • There are also various Facebook pages where captains and crew can post, including Alaska Commercial Fisherman jobs,

Crew contracts are required by law. A signed crew contract is a legal document that minimizes risk for both the skipper and crew member by spelling out what duties are expected, how shares and expenses are divided and other details that could otherwise lead to conflict. A key component is disclosure of pre-existing medical conditions, which could be important to skippers in defending against an injury claim.

A crew contract should include information on the crew member that includes social security number, winter address and health insurance.