October is a Big Month for the Alaskan King Crab Fisherman


A deep-sea fisherman is an occupation that has been rated second to that of a timber cutter, among the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the world. The words, Alaskan fishermen, brings new meaning to the phrase, “dying to work.” Over many centuries, this art form has been passed from generation to generation like a Cherokee Indian’s ceremonial smoking pipe.

Today, however, it would seem that this extreme occupation is facing the future advent of farmed fishing, which has only brought about a decreasing market value to many fish and forced many fisherman to turn to alternative occupations for survival. This in turn is breaking the path of tradition that has been passed down in families for hundreds of years. Alaskan king crab fisherman, however, would seem to be an exception to this dying race.

The king crab continues to be one of North Americas most popular delicacies, and the reward for a successful expedition to capture these creatures run in the excess of $100,000 for as little as five days work. Don’t be fooled, however, as each October, during these couple days, each minute will seem like a lifetime. You have to consider that the blue abyss may very well be the last thing these men ever see.

Alaskan Fishermen are said to be 50 times more likely to die in their field of work than most any other profession. This makes a lifetime seem very short for these fearless warriors. What is it, exactly, that puts these individuals in such peril?

Extreme weather tops the list, as does drowning (80% of deaths are due to such) and hypothermia. Crushed hands, limbs, ribs and internal organs are other dangers, due to either ocean waves (which reach the heights of 40 feet), net/rope accidents, or the malfunction of heavy equipment. Now that the shellfish population is on a steady decline, these fishermen have no other choice but to travel farther into the depths of the abyss to earn a healthy catch of the day. Besides the danger involved with each departure, there are a few other factors that can limit the success rate of these voyages.

Conditions such as repairs, lost equipment, food rations, spare parts, and medical supplies raise the initial cost of each trip, to tens of thousands of dollars. It is easy to see just how these brave souls could fall victim to a loss of profit, due to one poor decision, or one angry sea. The blood toll continues to rise, as does the tides. Nonetheless, each October these individuals put their lives at risk for their families, deep-rooted heritage, and pride.

As long as there continues to be a North American hankering for Alaskan king crab, these fearless warriors will always be the caretakers of the sea. LeechReport.com takes our hats off to these fishermen. May your path be clear, the wind be kind, and the sea guide you back home to your family each and every year!

(Photo via Reuters)



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