You'll Be Surprised At How Much Deep Sea Fisherman Really Get Paid

If you love canned tuna, or if you love someone that does, you'll have undoubtedly spent hours, even days, staring into your can of dolphin safe Chicken of the Sea, wondering what it's like to be a deep sea fisherman. Your curiosity piqued, you probably shoveled forkful after forkful of tuna casserole into the side of your face, too entangled in the fantasy of life on the high seas to focus on classical utensil-to-mouth technique, or let the meaty nuggets tumble from your gaping mouth, unable to properly apply the embouchure necessary to consume wads of baked bluefin. Or maybe you're just curious to find out what a deep sea fisherman hauls in at the end of the day.

The thing is, estimating the annual salary of these salty dogs is a complicated job. We'll dig deeper into why that is, but for a simple answer: Chron reports that the median income for a deep sea fisherman is $28,530.

Somewhere to the tuna $28k

Alright, now let's dig into why that's an oversimplification.

While it's true that the majority of fishing operations are run by beefy corporations with established pay structures, the act of yanking a tuna out of the water has a long history as an independent business. There are family run operations, small fishing companies, fishing tour guides, and so on.

Add to that the fact that different companies pay their employees differently, with some offering a cut of a large haul, and the numbers can vary substantially. Per Career Trend, the bottom ten percent of earners in the field make less than $16,080 annually, while the top ten percent make over $45,000. And none of that takes into account the fact that a lot of fishermen work seasonally, with much of the workforce only clocking in over the summer before heading back to work or school in the fall.

There are also going to be disparities, and outliers in pay depending on what kind of sea creatures you're catching. As the Maritime Injury Lawyers Blog notes, "salmon fishermen can earn up to $20,000 in three months, while crab fishermen can make up to $15,000 per month. In past years, deckhands on Bering Sea crab-fishing vessels have been known to earn up to $100,000 over a six-month snow crab season." 

So, if you're tired of punching the clock at ACME Jobs Inc., it's worth noting that there are plenty of fish in the sea, so to speak, when it comes to maritime employment.