Alaskan fisheries look to Yuma for workers

YUMA, Ariz. – As agriculture season wraps up in Yuma, fishing season is just getting started in Alaska. That’s why seafood processing companies turn to the local workforce when looking to reel in their temporary employees.

Shannon Grant is a recruiter for Silver Bay Seafoods.

“They’re working in our processing plants 16 hours a day, 7 days a week for 3 months.”

These workers handle fish for roughly 110 hours per week.

“It’s very intense,” she added.

Wednesday, she and the company stopped by Yuma looking for anyone brave enough to spend the summer in Alaska doing a variety of labor.

Grant described the tasks as “sorting the fish, to pulling the guts out of the salmon, to pulling them out of the freezer, to putting them into tankers.”

Silver Bay is just one of the many seafood processors that come to the Desert Southwest seeking potential employees. The Yuma Private Industry Council hosted Wednesday’s recruiting event.

“Usually for the month of March into April, we’ll see anywhere from half a dozen to a dozen different cannaries and fisheries coming here trying to recruit people. They tend to target the agricultural communities,” Patrick Goetz with YPIC said.

That’s because Alaska’s big salmon season is June through September, the same months the local ag season slows down.

“They’re not afraid of hard work, long hours, super repetitive jobs,” Grant said.

She says seafood bay operates five processing plants and is looking to hire about 400 people — men, women, young and old.

“It actually sounds kinda fun. It’ll get me out of Yuma and gives me the job experience that I need,” a job seeker told us.

The recruiter for Silver Bay Seafoods said they actually employ a lot of women. She said they are better at detail oriented jobs such as handling tiny fish eggs.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

Related posts