Paddle Your Own C'apac

Fishing & Harvesting

Fishing & Harvesting

Wondering if a job on the water is for you? If the majority of these statements apply, you could enjoy harvesting your Nation’s seafood.


People who work harvesting seafood usually travel in boats, set nets or hook and line gear, haul in catches, clean their fish, and bring their catch to buyers. They may work as part of a team for long hours away from home and may work only part of the year. For those who own their own boats, gear maintenance, marine navigation, and business skills like marketing your catch are a must.

Other jobs in fishing and harvesting include diving for species like tutĉup (sea urchins), geoducks and sea cucumbers or gathering species like gooseneck barnacles or clams.


Clam diggers need to be in good physical shape and have some experience digging clams.

Divers need to have a Commercial Dive Certificate and may apprentice for two years before starting their own business.

Deck hands need to have safety awareness and boat training and may learn technical skills on the job.

Fishermen/women run their own boats and need to have a commercial fiishing licence, technical skills to navigate safely on the ocean, and business skills to successfully harvest and sell their fish. Transport Canada now requires all boat operators to have Marine Emergency Duties training and a Small Vessel Operators Proficiency Certificate. Some may also require Fishing Master Class IV.


Clam diggers' earnings depend on how many clams they dig and where they dig them. One example is between $0.80 and $0.90 per pound for wild clams or $0.60 per pound for seeded clams, which might work out to $400 in one night! They work seasonally.

Divers earn between $200 and$600/day and may work 6 months of the year in harvesting jobs.

Deck hands earn a percentage of the catch (between $10,000 and $40,000 per year) and work seasonally. Earnings depend on the type of the boat, the size of the catch, and the number of months worked

Experienced fishermen and women earn between $20,000 and $90,000 over a season depending on their catch and the size of their boat. A gillnetter may earn between $20,000 and $40,000 with a single area licence, while someone who catches more than one species (like dogfish, tuna, and lingcod) may earn up to $90,000 in one season.




Did You Know?

The Nuu-chah-nulth word for a fisheries boat is c̕ac̕aałuk. The word for fisherman is čiicʕaqƛ.


Crabs Ucluelet Troller Drag Seine NCN Troller Sardine Fishing Sockeye salmon wear spawning colours while heading upstream to complete their mission. Nahmint & Maggie Groundfish boat in commercial fleet on WCVI Andrew Mack, Phillip Edgar, and Perry Edgar gather food fish for Ditidaht First Nations. Danny Short with clams. Depuration dig results. Spawn on kelp. Photo from Jim Lane. Casting a net out to sea during a survey.