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Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Commercial Crewmember Information

A person engaged in commercial fishing is considered a commercial fisherman and must hold a commercial fishing license. Commercial fisherman means an individual who fishes commercially for, takes, or attempts to take fish, shellfish, or other fishery resources of the state by any means, and includes every individual aboard a boat operated for fishing purposes, or in a fishing operation, who participates directly or indirectly in the taking of these raw fishery products, whether participation is on shares or as an employee or otherwise; however, this definition does not apply to anyone aboard a licensed vessel as a visitor or guest who does not directly or indirectly participate in the taking; and the term "commercial fisherman" includes the crews of tenders, processors, catcher processors or other floating craft used in transporting fish. Persons who need to obtain a crew member license include persons handling fishing gear, the cook, the engineer and any crewmembers who assist at all in maintenance, navigation, docking and operation of the vessel (including taking aboard fish from tenders or catcher vessels). Other crewmembers on a processor or catcher processor do not need a crew license if they work only on the processing line.

In compliance with the statutes of the State of Alaska, the purchaser of a Commercial Crewmember License is notified that beginning July 1, 1997: Social Security Number is required information. If you are behind on your child support payments, your license is null and void at the time of purchase, and you will be subject to criminal sanctions for participation in any commercial crewmember activities. The Department of Fish and Game will match each licensee against Child Support Enforcement's outstanding child support list. Notice will be served that the license is void and invalid. A temporary license may be requested by filing a written request to the Department of Fish and Game.

At-Sea Fleet: A crewmember fishing license is required of all crew members working aboard floating processor and catcher-processor vessels except for crew members who work solely in the processing function aboard the vessel. This requirement applies to all vessels that take fish, offload fish (processed or unprocessed) or process fish in state waters. This requirement does not apply to vessels that never enter state waters or merely transit state waters on their way to an out of state delivery point and do not take, offload or process fish in state waters. Such vessels would need to comply with the reporting requirements of 5 AAC 39.128.

Examples of crew member duties aboard fishing or processing vessels that do require crew member commercial fishing licenses are galley workers, engineering section, housekeeping, bridge staff, communications, maintenance, and everyone not solely working in the processing function aboard the vessel. Crew members who work in the processing function and perform any other duty aboard a vessel, even briefly, are required to obtain crew member licenses. The processing function includes preparing, packaging, cooking, canning, smoking, salting, drying, freezing or preserving raw fish and offloading processed fish.

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