State of Alaska
Fish and Game Home

Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Section Navigation

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).

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.

Crewmember Duties

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.

Licensing Exemptions

Persons exempt from obtaining a crew member license include:

  • CFEC (Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission) permit holders.
  • Processing workers on floating fish processing vessels that do not operate fishing gear or engage in activities related to navigation or operation of the vessel.
  • Guests or visitors who do not directly or indirectly participate in the taking or transporting of fish.
  • CFEC entry or interim-use permit from any fishery can be used as a crewmember license.

Child Support

If you are not in substantial compliance with your child support order and on Alaska's Child Support Services (CSSD) noncompliance report, your commercial crew license is null and void. You may be subject to criminal sanctions for participation in any commercial crewmember activities.

Under Alaska Statute 25.27.244 the Department of Fish and Game will match each licensee against Child Support Enforcement's outstanding child support list. Notice will be served to fishermen that are not in compliance and their license is void and invalid. State Troopers will also be notified.

You will have to contact Child Support Services Division (CSSD) at 907-269-6897 to rectify the situation with your child support payments. CSSD will contact Fish and Game when you are in compliance with your child support order. A temporary license may be requested by filing a written request to the Department of Fish and Game.

Social Security Number

A Social Security Number is required for all Commercial Crew fishing licenses.

All commercial crewmembers must have a social security number, whether or not you are a citizen of the United States. Fisherman can obtain a SSN by contacting the U.S. Social Security Administration at 1.800.772.1213. You can speak to a SSN representative between 7am and 7pm Monday through Friday. Immigration questions can be directed to 1.800.375.5283.

Buy Your Crewmember License