Aquaculture jobs in Alaska: now this IS exciting!

Looking for a job in aquaculture? Perhaps you are a skilled biologist, hatchery technician or fish farmer? These are all careers available in Alaska, now.

The following text is taken (unedited) from Alaska Summer Jobs dot com. We thought regular readers of our blog would be interested – and perhaps see the humor (or is it irony?) in the webpage as well. You better take a look at the website quickly, because we expect the page to be removed not long after our blog posting is published!

Proud Alaska fish farmer

Proud Alaska fish farmer

Alaska is one of the primary regions for aquaculture in the United States.

Salmon is the most recognizable portion of Alaska’s aquaculture industry, as well as the most valuable. Bristol Bay, Prince William Sound and all of Southeast Alaska are three of the primary salmon-producing regions.

Fish farms and hatcheries are the backbone of the aquaculture industry. Positions such as aquaculturists, fish technicians and breeding managers are common jobs in this area. These personnel monitor and ensure the health and quality of a specific species. Therefore, for career-oriented positions, a scientific background is necessary to understand and manage the respective operation. These positions require a person comfortable in performing duties in both indoor and outdoor settings. Median salaries average around US $50,000 accompanied by medical benefits and paid vacation.

As aquaculture is essentially dealing with the growth of biological organisms, the need for a fish biologist is critical throughout the industry. The biologist is an important expert in all aspects on aquaculture, from understanding and managing the growth of aquatic species in hatcheries and farms to communicating the impact those operations will have on local surroundings. Biologists are often relied upon to study wild or manmade fishery systems and analytically relay his/her finding through many different methods. Sampling surveys, water quality determinations, environmental impact studies and fishery operation inspections are just a few responsibilities a biologist partakes in.

A proud salmon farmer in Alaska

A proud salmon farmer in Alaska

Salaries generally start around US$40,000 for applicants immediately out of school or those with very little experience. Salaries often extend to US$70,000 with greater amounts of pertinent experience and demonstrated abilities.

If you’re simply looking for seasonal work, then start contacting Alaska’s aquaculture associations beginning in January. They frequently hire college students to help with a variety of tasks. Pay often starts at minimum wage (Alaska’s is $7.75 as of Jan. 2010) plus time-and-a-half for overtime worked. In remote locations room and board is frequently included.

Read more about these exciting aquaculture career opportunities in Alaska at

This entry was posted in Salmon Ranching 101 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Aquaculture jobs in Alaska: now this IS exciting!

  1. It IS discouraging that so much of Alaska’s salmon industry relies upon fish hatcheries. This reflects that fact that a good bit the habitat wild salmon require has already been significantly degraded. It’s also a reminder that we must fight to preserve what remains.
    On a brighter note, the strategy of “ranching” salmon – raising them from eggs in a controlled environment until they are ready to smolt, and then releasing them to the open ocean to mature – is a far cry from the salmon farming being conducted in Norway, Scotland and British Columbia. As long as salmon are swimming the open seas and are returning to natal rivers- as in Alaska fish culture – they are part of a vast food chain including orcas, seals, bears and a host of other animals. Salmon that are strictly raised in pens are completely removed from the food chain merely take resources from the ocean.
    Although it is our hope that wild salmon habitat all around the be restored so that wild salmon stocks will return to their former glory, in the meanwhile we view ranched salmon as part of the short-term solution. We frankly don’t see any place for egg-to-market salmon farming in this mix, because cheap, farm-raised salmon undermine the value of wild-caught salmon and the environs they need.

  2. Hi Barbra & Jack, we wouldn’t use the term “discouraging” to describe Alaska’s salmon ranching initiatives. Aquaculture is a neccesity to supply the increasing demand for seafood. As we know, the ocean can only naturally supply an infinite amount of fish, and as our world population grows, aquaculture can supplement this increase in demand.

    We would disagree that one culture technique is a best choice. Salmon farming has challenges due to contained stock (disease amplification risk), it has the benefit of control (feed inputs and salmon quality tightly monitored). Salmon ranching has challenges due to having little control (feed use and genetic risk), but benefits from diluting its impacts over a broader region (fish waste).

    However, when one looks critically at big picture issues such as feed use and genetic risk to wild populations, one can argue valid points that salmon ranching is not as efficient as salmon farming. That aside, both culture techniques are an important part of providing a healthy protein to a growing population.

    Your final point that “cheap, farm-raised salmon undermine the value of wild-caught salmon” is a less-than-strong argument. Considering that Alaska, Japan and Russia all ranch billions of salmon and the most popular species to ranch is the pink salmon – the cheapest of all salmon. (this year pink salmon comprised 80% of the Alaska salmon fishery). And given that millions of pink salmon from ranches are harvested within a few months and flood the market (whereas farmed salmon are harvested over 12 months)…well you might want to look closer to home if you’re going to play the blame game.


  3. Brian says:

    I won’t presume to speak for Barbra and Jack, but the word ‘value’ has to do with far more than ‘price’, which is what it seems you are talking about in your comment. The ecosystem is a valuable resource that cannot have a price attached. The value of wild-caught salmon is the big picture, not a price per pound comparison. I doubt most salmon farmers will ever understand that.

  4. Pingback: Aquaculture jobs in Alaska: now this IS exciting! » Michigan Aquaculture Association

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s