It’s an adventure to work in Alaska! You will have the opportunity to work hard with a great team and make a good wage. There is access to nature in a big way and that’s how most of us enjoy our time off.
But it isn’t for everyone. Some of our plants are in small towns and others are in very remote locations, so there aren’t all of the amenities that you might be used to. The weather can be changeable and you should be prepared for cool summers and stormy winters. At most of the locations the living quarters are shared so you will have roommates and limited personal space. Before you begin work, you'll be advised about how to pack wisely.
Mail service can be sporadic in these remote areas of Alaska. Mail can arrive two to three times per week during the summer and even less frequently in the winter. Banks are not available at all locations, so employees can arrange for direct deposit of their paychecks. 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. You may have care packages sent up to you. However, all mail may be searched for drugs, alcohol, and contraband.
Our primary business is bringing fish from the water to the plates of our customers all over the world. Most of the work that we do at our processing facilities in Alaska involves processing whole fish just out of the water. That includes removing the viscera (guts) and cutting off heads, fins, gills, or tail. As a result, there are fish guts and fish blood 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, is provided for you.
Seafood processing is physically and mentally demanding, and not everyone is willing or able to perform the necessary requirements of the work. Cleaning fish and performing other processing jobs may require you to stand in one place performing repetitive tasks for up to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. Of course, you will be paid overtime for any work beyond 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week, so most people like to work hard during the season. During recruiting events and interviews you will have the opportunity to find out more about what it takes to be successful as a processor.
We take the following steps to evaluate potential new employees for hire:
- Complete the on-line application and watch our introductory video
- Phone or video interview
- Background and reference check
- Employment offer
To protect our employees, OBI Seafoods follows all of the recommended safety precautions for COVID-19. We strongly encourage employees be vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine. All workers will be required to wear a mask during their work shift (masks will be provided at the start of every shift). In the event that an employee contracts COVID-19, they will be isolated for the prescribed period as recommended by health authorities.
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 to be worn in production areas.
To prepare for a summer in Alaska, here is a list of items we recommend you bring:
- Due to limited storage space, we recommend bringing a softshell, foldable suitcase or duffle bag for your luggage.
- Pack clothes that are comfortable and good for layering, and that you don't mind getting dirty, such as t-shirts, flannel shirts, sweatshirts, thermal clothing items, lots of wool/cotton socks, sweatpants, baseball hats, beanies.
- Toiletries: shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, bath towels, lightweight bathrobe, shower flipflops.
- Alarm clock
- Pillow and blanket (OBI provides bedding, but you may find more comfort with your own items).
- Until you receive your first paycheck, have money on hand for any personal items you might need.
You will be responsible for finding and getting yourself to an Alaska Airlines hub airport in the US. From there, OBI Seafoods will provide transportation to the plant location.
The fishing seasons in Alaska vary from year to year. The sizes of the runs depend entirely upon the forces of nature. The amount of work we can provide depends on the amount of fish that is harvested. At the beginning and end of the season or during seasons with smaller runs, there may be times with little or no work. We cannot guarantee the number of hours employees will work each day. When there is no fish, there is no work. When the harvest comes in, we expect everyone to work their scheduled shift. During the peak of the season, you may work up to 16 hours per day, 7 days a week. Hours are more variable at the beginning and end of the season.
Once you complete your contract, it could be possible to transfer you to another location to continue work. With 10 locations, we offer a wide range of opportunities throughout the year.
In addition to processing positions, we have job opportunities in plant management, quality control, fleet management, fishermen services, engineering, and administration.
Our corporate office is located on the ship canal near the Ballard Bridge in Seattle. It has a casual, friendly and collaborative atmosphere and most of the jobs there are administrative support for our Alaska operation, including operations management, marketing and sales, traffic and logistics, accounting, IT, and human resources. The Seattle office is newly remodeled and will be part of a new development that is revitalizing the waterfront in our area. Soon the building will also house a brewery, a restaurant, and several small art shops. Depending on their work requirements, employees at our headquarters have the option of work locations –either at our Seattle office or in the offices of our sister company Ocean Beauty Seafoods in Monroe or Renton.