Western Alaska

Western Alaska

Welcome to Icicle Seafoods' Western Alaska operations web site. We appreciate your interest in learning more about this unique region of Alaska and about the employment opportunities in this area.

In this web site, you'll find an overview of the fisheries that we participate in Western Alaska, employment information, and other useful tips designed to make your employment experience with Icicle Seafoods as enjoyable as possible. We hope that you'll find this site informative and that you'll apply for work with us!

Icicle's Western Alaska operations consist of our processing fleet and shore-based processing plants. Each work location has a different configuration, operates at different times and with different fisheries, and even has different personalities. To learn more about the characteristics of each processor vessel or any of our shore-based processing plants, click on the underlined names below.

Processing vessels:

Shore-based processing plants:

The Hiring Process

In order to work for Icicle, you must be at least 18 years old, be able to speak and understand English for safety reasons, and be able to show proper documentation (Requires Adobe Reader) to prove that you are legally eligible to work in the United States. This applies to everyone; Icicle Seafoods does not sponsor applicants for work authorization.

Please apply online. The link to apply is at the bottom of this page. If you are in the Seattle area, please contact our office to schedule an interview. Interviews at our office are by appointment only. Click here for directions to our office. We will have recruiting events in select cities throughout the year. Click here to see our upcoming recruiting events. It is required that you read this web page in full and are familiar with the contents before your interview.

After the interview, we check work references and criminal convictions through the court system. These checks can take time, anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Positions will be filled by the best-qualified applicants, regardless of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, pregnancy, parenthood, genetic information, veteran status, any disability that will not interfere with the ability to perform the job, or other characteristics protected by applicable federal, state or local laws.

If you are hired, you must travel to Seattle at your own expense one business day prior to your departure to Alaska. At our office, you will need to fill out the paperwork to finalize the hiring process. Icicle will provide transportation from Seattle to your Alaska destination and back, as long as you complete your employment agreement. If hired in Alaska, transportation is provided from Anchorage to your work location and back, also if you complete your employment agreement.

Work Availability

Throughout the year, work is available on a seasonal basis at one or more locations. The fishing seasons in western Alaska vary from year to year. How large or small the runs will be each year depends entirely upon the forces of nature. We have little control over how much fish or crab comes in for processing.

The amount of work that we can provide depends upon how much fish we get. At the beginning and end of the season or during seasons with smaller runs, there may be weeks with little or no work. We cannot guarantee the number of hours employees will work each day. When there is no fish, there's no work. Room and board are still provided while you are not working.

On the other hand, when we have fish, we expect everyone to work their scheduled shift. During the peak of the season you may work up to 18 hours per day, 7 days a week. Hours are more variable at the beginning and at the end of the season.

There is always the possibility of a mid-season transfer. Icicle employs processors for many worksites and the staffing needs vary throughout the year from location to location. When you agree to work with Icicle, you may not work at the same place for the entire length of your employment agreement! In fact, being able to get more work by transferring to other Icicle facilities is a major advantage that Icicle has over many of our competitors.

Season Dates

Listed below are the seasons, approximate dates and the location where our floating processors work. Keep in mind that this information varies year to year:

Season Dates Location
Pollock January-April, June-October Dutch Harbor
Opilio Crab January-March Dutch Harbor, St. Paul
Cod January-April, July-October Dutch Harbor
Herring April-June Togiak
Salmon June-August Bristol Bay, Prince William Sound, Southeast Alaska
King Crab October-November Dutch Harbor

Employees can expect to be transferred to other Icicle locations including Seward or Petersburg to finish out their employment agreement, especially during the summer salmon season.

Working Conditions

Most of the work that we have is called "sliming" or cleaning fish. This type of work involves removing the viscera (guts) and cutting off heads, fins, gills, or tail. That means there are lots of fish guts and fish bloodThe Line in the work area. The environment can be wet, cold, and drafty. Due to moving machinery, it is noisy and hearing protection is required. All work gear, including eye and hearing protection, are provided for you.

This can be very boring and tedious work. Sliming and other processing jobs may require standing in one spot doing the same task anywhere up to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. Breaks are every 3 to 4 hours, alternating between a paid 15-minute break and an unpaid 30-minute meal break. There may not be opportunities to switch jobs during your shift. Between periods of production, you may experience stretches of time with no work. During this time, it’s up to you to find ways to occupy your time.Workers

Not everyone is willing or able to do the labor that is required to process fish. It's hard work! The first week can be the worst as your body gets used to the job tasks and long hours. Seafood processing is physically and mentally demanding because it involves strenuous and repetitive tasks. You should be healthy and willing to accept this type of work. People with back or wrist problems should consider these conditions before applying for jobs in the seafood industry. If you have any doubts at all, it is in your best interest not to apply.

Living Conditions

Life in remote areas of Alaska can be rough. During the winter months, storm-like conditions are the norm. Be prepared for little sunlight and extreme weather conditions. In the summer, be prepared for cool weather, insects like mosquitoes, and very little darkness. The living quarters are dorm-like bunks, holding on average 4 to 8 people in each room. Bathrooms may be down the hall or in another building. There is little chance for privacy.

Mail service can be sporadic in these remote areas of Alaska. Mail can arrive on average two to three times per week during the summer and even less frequently in the winter. Phone service may not be available at all times, if at all. Due to the limited mail and phone services, it will be hard to keep in contact with friends and family members back home.

Having said all this, we continue to have many employees who return to work with us year after year. The reason is simple: Icicle Seafoods is a great place to work! Wages are competitive. Meals are provided, rent is free, and your laundry is done for you once a week.

You'll need enough warm, comfortable clothing for one week. We will provide a list of what to pack upon hire. We provide all work gear, including rubber boots, rubber gloves, waterproof rain pants and jackets, earplugs and other personal protective equipment. Hairnets and beard nets are also provided and required. Bed linen is provided, which includes sheets, blanket, and a pillow. There is a small sea store on board that will sell basic necessities, such as shampoo, stamps, razors, and snacks. Cigarettes and tobacco may be also available for purchase. You may have care packages sent up to you. However, all mail will be searched for drugs, alcohol, and weapons.

Icicle has a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy. On our vessels, we perform random drug testing once a month based on the amount of people on board. If you fail or are found in possession of drugs or alcohol, it will result in an automatic termination. With an automatic termination, a resignation, or a discharge, you will be responsible for your own transportation home and will be made ineligible for rehire at all of Icicle’s locations.

When you are not working, recreation is limited. On vessels there is no guarantee of shore leave. And, our remote land plants are isolated. It is up to you what you do with your free time. Many employees enjoy playing cards, writing letters home, reading, or just spending time getting to know each other. In most locations, there is also an exercise room and a TV room for your convenience.

Wages and Benefits

If the work is so hard, why would anyone choose to do it? Lots of overtime hours! Because seafood is a highly perishable product, it must be frozen as quickly as possible to maintain the highest quality. This is why the seafood industry offers more overtime than most summer jobs.

Working overtime is how people earn more money in a shorter period of time. The first 8 hours worked in one day are paid at your regular hourly rate. Any hours worked above that are considered overtime. Any hours worked above 40 regular time hours in one week are considered overtime as well. The overtime rate is one and a half times the regular hourly rate of pay. The starting rate of pay for seafood processors is $7.75 per hour. This means that Icicle pays new processors $7.75 per regular hour and $11.63 for overtime hours worked. As hours accumulate, your pay increases according to the following schedule:

Accumulated Hours Regular Hourly Rate
0 - 3600 7.75
3601 and up 8.25

Employees who return to work within one calendar year continue to build up previous hours and return at the same rate of pay.

The Western Alaska division of Icicle Seafoods is also offering a recruitment incentive. After you have successfully completed a season, you may refer new applicants. If that applicant gets hired and both of you successfully complete the season, you will receive $300.00 gross for each person referred. Also, to qualify, you must complete a work agreement during the same time period as your referred applicant and he or she must enter your name in the “Referred By” box on the application when it is initially completed. All received applications are final.

In addition to competitive wages and the opportunity to work more overtime hours than most summer jobs, we offer other excellent benefits including a health care plan and a 401(k) Plan.

Drug and Alcohol Policy

Icicle Seafoods, Inc. is a drug and alcohol free company with a zero-tolerance policy. The use or possession of drugs or alcohol are forbidden on company property and while under employment agreement. We require employees to consent to random, post-accident, and for cause tests. If you want to work for us, you must be willing to live and work in a drug and alcohol free environment. Violation of our drug and alcohol policy will result in immediate discharge. In addition, employees who violate the drug and alcohol policy are responsible for their own transportation home.

Orientations

Paperwork orientations take place in Seattle one business day before your departure. At this orientation you will fill out all required paperwork.

There will also be an orientation provided for all hired employees upon arrival at the work location. During the orientation, we provide information about our operation and your role as part of our seafood processing team. Your supervisor and lead person will train you on the job in the actual skills that you will need for the work you are assigned to. There will be further introductory and safety orientations once as well.

During the safety orientation, you will find out about our safety rules. You will be instructed in how to identify and report hazards. You will learn how to take proper precautions in the workplace and how to wear personal protective equipment. We will cover what to do in case of an emergency.

Quality on the Job

We want to put out the best product possible. We want all employees to be aware that the fish that we process will become someone's meal.

During orientation and on the job, employees will learn how to properly handle seafood to preserve freshness and quality and to prevent contamination. The Good Manufacturing Practices or "GMPs" include rules for personal hygiene (keeping yourself and your clothing clean). They also cover rules for sanitation such as disinfecting your gloves, boots, and gear before going into the processing area. They include rules for preventing the product from becoming contaminated, such as by wearing hairnets, and not chewing gum, eating, drinking, smoking, or wearing jewelry while processing seafood.

We are proud of the fact that each of Icicle Seafoods' processing facilities has an excellent reputation for high quality seafood products. We want to maintain that reputation. That is why we insist that everyone strictly follow the GMPs.

Safety on the Job

Icicle Seafoods, Inc. strives to provide a safe and healthful workplace for all employees. We are proud of our safety record! We have developed policies, rules and safe operating procedures as part of our Accident Prevention Program. We expect everyone to follow these policies and take an active role in preventing accidents in the workplace.

Safety Requirements for Working Aboard Vessels

Survival Suit
Survival Suit

Due to extreme weather conditions and the unpredictable nature of working and living on the water, Icicle Seafoods requires that all employees who work on vessels have the ability to put on an immersion suit in one minute or less. Icicle provides a practice immersion suit in our office in Seattle if you’d like an opportunity to better understand this requirement.

If you have doubts about your ability to accomplish this, you should either reconsider your employment at Icicle or ask one of our recruiters about employment at our land-based facilities. If you need accommodation to put on an immersion suit, you must contact the Western Alaska Human Resources Manager at (206) 281-0332 before leaving for Alaska.

Notes

  • Many people have unrealistic expectations about the amount of money they can make working in Alaska. The fishing industry is extremely unpredictable. Even during a good season, the wages you earn in Alaska may be comparable to or less than what you can earn elsewhere. Also, because this is seasonal work, you cannot depend on it for steady income.
  • Remember: no fish, no work; lots of fish, lots of work!
  • Due to remote locations, medical and dental facilities may not be immediately available.
  • Rough weather on a vessel can be unpleasant, especially if you are prone to motion sickness.
  • We hire many different types of people with diverse backgrounds. You must be tolerant of others and must be able to get along with a variety of people and personalities.
  • Finally, we hope you choose to work with Icicle Seafoods because we believe we have the best program to offer!

The above link will take you to the job board for the openings in the Western Alaska division of Icicle Seafoods.

ICICLE SEAFOODS IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

We endeavor at all times to fill available openings with the best qualified applicants regardless of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, pregnancy, parenthood, genetic information, veteran status ,or any disability that will not interfere with the ability to perform the job, or other characteristics protected by applicable federal, state or local laws.