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Salary, Wages, Pay: Fishers and Fishing Vessel Operators




Based on limited information, the majority of full-time wage and salary fishers earn between $300 and $700 per week. Earnings of fishers and fishing vessel operators normally are highest in the summer and fall—when demand for services peaks and environmental conditions are favorable—and lowest during the winter. Many full-time and most part-time workers supplement their income by working in other activities during the off-season. For example, fishers may work in seafood-processing plants, in establishments selling fishing and marine equipment, in construction, or in a number of unrelated seasonal occupations.

Earnings of fishers vary widely, depending upon their position, their ownership percentage of the vessel, the size of their ship, and the amount and value of the catch. The costs of the fishing operation—the physical aspects of operating the ship, such as the fuel costs, repair and maintenance of gear and equipment, and the crew’s supplies—are deducted from the sale of the catch. Net proceeds are distributed among the crew members in accordance with a prearranged percentage. Generally, the ship’s owner—usually its captain—receives half of the net proceeds. From this amount, the owner pays for depreciation, maintenance and repair, and replacement and insurance costs of the ship and its equipment; the money that remains is the owner’s profit.