Hi I'm a 23yr old Female that has been working on a 64ft Factory Trawler for 6 years. We work 84 hours a week and sometimes extra if we are super busy! Some pretty crazy stuff can happen out at sea so feel free to AMA!

EDIT: whoops the trawler is actually 64 meters. That means it's 210ft

Edit: thanks for all the questions guys. It's nearly 5am so I think I should go to bed. Ill answer any new questions when I wake up.

Proof: http://imgur.com/05uZIy9 http://imgur.com/V6DeAzS http://imgur.com/CtkxuYT

Edit: Fuck I'm a noob I somehow deleted the self text.

Comments: 250 • Responses: 82  • Date: 

Sekujin49 karma

How often do you get blamed for the fishy smell?

PM_a_llama56 karma

I can't believe I have never heard this pun used out there. Ha.

Rorkimaru41 karma

What measures are taken to prevent devastating the marine population and do you feel that these practices are sufficient?

PM_a_llama47 karma

We are assigned quota every year so that stops people from over fishing. If we catch a large amount of fish that is too small we move areas. I think we do rather well in sustaining a good environment for the marine population as I live in New Zealand and we fish in our waters and you know how this country likes to hold its Clean & Green image. I always worried about dolphins before I started fishing but I have never seen nor heard of one being caught. We also have a metal bar thingy on the top of our nets for when we fish down south so if a seal gets stuck in the net he can escape through the opening the metal allows. Also certain procedures have to be followed if a bird is caught in the net but I've only seen it happen twice and the birds got out okay.

Rorkimaru10 karma

Awesome! Glad to hear you guys are making provisions for sustainability! Cheers for the reply!

PM_a_llama21 karma

Thanks for the good question!

recovertheother24 karma

Has anybody you encountered in the industry been superstitious? Superstitions seem to be key in portraying fishermen in cinema, has the 'bringing a woman on board makes the sea angry' one ever come up?

Also, do ye ever speak like pirates for the craic?

PM_a_llama31 karma

I told a couple of the boys I was having a pirate themed birthday when I got off and they wore rags around there heads and spoke like pirates for the last two weeks of the trip. Was very entertaining.

One of our two skippers is very superstitious. He doesn't sail on a Friday and will sometimes wait till midnight just so it's not Friday. He also gets angry if you whistle. Luckily he's lovely to the girls and I haven't heard a peep about the bananas.

crazy2think16 karma

whistling for anyone not in the know, was a centuries old communication device between sailors for moving rigging. Different whistles could be mean the difference between life and death if your head gets in the way. Sailors also served as crew on theatrical shows and used their whistle signals to move heavy sets, also a life or death situation when you're in the wrong spot. You still can't whistle back stage, too many superstitious folks.

PM_a_llama2 karma

That's very interesting. I wonder why it's superstitious?

ichegoya23 karma

do you feel like you've been treated differently as a woman?

PM_a_llama53 karma

Yes. I was at the start. That only pushed me to work my ass off go harder than the rest of the boys and I learnt how to do every single job in the factory. Last trip I was put in the freezers as there was no one else on our shift really capable of doing it. I found it very difficult to start off with as I had to push out 1 tonne freezers, then box them up in 25kg boxes and then stow them down in the hold which is -30 something degrees Celsius. Every hour. Oh god it killed me. But it felt good to be doing a mans job. I try fight the sexism by proving I am capable of doing things but I don't bother trying to go on deck as it's really a boy zone and I would just find it awkward invading that territory.

ichegoya11 karma

And how are you treated on a personal level? Are there other women who work on fishing trawlers that you know of?

PM_a_llama3 karma

I have a few friends that work on different boats. It's not uncommon to see girls, there just isn't many of us.

KUD0523 karma

Have you caught crabs?

PM_a_llama37 karma

Yeah. Heaps. They're really annoying.

Sugreev200118 karma

How was your first month on the trawler?

PM_a_llama40 karma

Do you mean how much did I earn for my first trip? I think I made around $3000 for my first trip. We were catching quite well. It all depends on whether or not we catch enough fish. In comparison the best bonus I've ever had was $7500 and the worst was $60.

Edit: I just read that properly. My first month was terrible. I felt like I didn't sleep for the first three weeks and felt like I lay in my bunk in total darkness just waiting for the person that comes to wake you up. I was home sick and sea sick but I got over it in the end. Most of it is all in your head and getting good sleep comes down to eating properly and making sure you don't sleep too much or too less. Which is difficult to balance when we work 6 hours on 6 hours off the entire time.

TIGit17 karma

Hiya! Fishing is super crazy from what I've heard. Do you enjoy it a lot?

I bet being the one girl gets old fast. I know I love my welding and pipeline crew, but after a few months I wanna kill 'em for the girl jokes. That said, you should totally say hi over at /r/BlueCollarWomen! I know the ladies over there would love to hear from you.

PM_a_llama8 karma

Cool! Can't wait to check that out! Thanks for commenting! Working with guys is something different but I wouldn't change it for the world.

Kuu617 karma

what is the thing you miss the most during those 6 weeks?? Is there any internet connection on the boat??

PM_a_llama27 karma

No internet connection unless we are in cellphone range. And you have data on your phone. As soon as we get into range most people are straight on their phones mostly ringing home or Facebook. Last trip I missed reddit the most. I had just become a lurker a week before we sailed and once we had left I had this immense feeling of FOMO. I don't really miss much these days as it's good to get away from everything once and a while. But when I first started I missed my family and friends. I grown accustomed to that now. Sometimes I miss getting drunk and partying. But I make up for it when I get back ;)

hellisalie14 karma


PM_a_llama44 karma

I haven't seen strange above me. But once at night I looked out and there was a strange algae in the water and when the waves broke it sent an electric blue ripple like lightening across the break in the water. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Then in the day time it just looked like gross brown slime floating on the water.

anonymousinternet13 karma


PM_a_llama28 karma

It smells like shit. You do get use to it while processing but when it comes to the end of the trip and we are cleaning it's not fun water blasting rotten fish everywhere. That's when it smells the worst!

ghostfacezabuza12 karma

Do you feel you get paid appropriately for such a demanding job?

PM_a_llama18 karma

Most definitely! I absolutely love it because you get such a long period of time off with a lump sum. At the start new people complain because they aren't getting good money straight away. But it's like every other job. You have to put in time and effort to build your way up to the top to earn better money. If you do outside of your rotation (sometimes I do three 6 week trips in a row) I get paid double for the two extra trips so if we are catching well, it can turn out to be an excellent pay out.

Stovokor_X6 karma

Is it dependent on the catch and the payout is split a certain way or am I off base. Is there like a base pay ?

PM_a_llama9 karma

Yep that's right. It gets split into percentages and depending on how long you've been there, what grade you are, whether you are an engineer, factory hand, deck hand or officer determines the cut you will get.

TIGit5 karma

whether you are an engineer, factory hand, deck hand or officer determines the cut you will get.

What do each of those jobs entail?

PM_a_llama6 karma

There are two engineers and one is always on watch. They are responsible to keep the boat running and also fix anything and every things that breaks. From the fixing the toaster to unblocking toilets. Water and fuel management. Factory hand is just someone working down in the factory to process the fish. You could be sorting out the different fish. To putting them through the filleting machines. Trimming them. Weighing up the different bins. Packing. Or in the freezers. Deck hand work on deck to shoot and haul up the nah every 6 hours. Maintain the integrity of the net. Then they come down and help in the factory. An officer is basically anyone that is not a general hand. Someone with more experience and qualifications than the general and who carries more responsibility and is a role model for those below. Engineers, Baadertech (who maintains all the processing equipment and hydrolics, belts etc), The two factory bosses, Factory Manager, Bosun & 2nd mate (deck bosses) and 1st mate and skipper who drive the boat and catch the fish.

LeWildest3 karma

What is your position?

PM_a_llama5 karma

I am just a humble factory hand

PM_a_llama1 karma

I am just a humble factory hand.

PM_a_llama0 karma

I'm just a humble factory hand

Kuu611 karma

Why did you decide with only 17 years old to do this kind of work?? Many times these kind of jobs are a tradition, does your family work on this?

PM_a_llama17 karma

It's not so much tradition in a factory trawler as I'm mostly working in a floating factory compared to working on a smaller inshore boat. My family is pacific island roots and my uncles certainly don't agree to me working on the boat as "the sea is no place for a woman". I liked the money and the fact that I got good time off and the people I was working with were great.

Kuu61 karma

Ah ok, I thought it was kind of a small boat... Thanks for answering :)

PM_a_llama2 karma

I got the size wrong. It's 64metres so over 200ft

Dr_Jerkface10 karma

What is the ratio of women to men? How often are you hit on? And uhh how often do you "accept"?

PM_a_llama26 karma

I have a partner who is a boss so I don't get hit on. We've been together since I started. Unless we are at the pub drunk but I just shrug it off because I know they're horny bastards that haven't had a root for a few weeks. Most of the girls have boyfriends. That's because they get snapped up as soon as they come on. A few people cheat on their partners out there and it makes me fucking sick. Then they go home and act all normal with their families then come back to their boat hoe 6 weeks later.

dontkillmyvibez8 karma

I'm an AB unlimited in the gulf of mexico, currently 200 miles south of Louisiana in a 240ft OSV. I was wondering if you all had WiFi while offshore as we do? Do you hold any endorsements for your position? AB, QMED, Lifeboatmen, etc? Ever considered working the gulf? I was surprised to hear that you are only making 60k a year. I too work 6 months. 28 on 28 off and making slightly over 90k. I'm sure your job is much more strenuous than mine. My watch consists of steering the vessel from midnight to 6am (if we are underway), cleaning the pilot house twice a week, and tying up the vessel when needed. Other than that, we watch movies and play video games. What's a normal day like for you?

PM_a_llama13 karma

I don't hold any tickets. I wanted to sit a deck ticket which would be watch keepers, and mean I could help up on deck haul the bag up etc. But because I'm a girl they don't take me seriously. What does AB & QMED stand for? I would LOVE to go on different boats around the work but I need to sit a Life boatmen ticket to better my chances of getting in. Do you think? We don't have WiFi yet but are in the process of having it trialed. I just do factory work which consists of sorting the fish out to putting it through the machines, packing it, freezing it, and breaking out the freezers to box it up and eventually stow in the hold. My partner is a boss but does the exact same work as me and he earns almost double what I do. I would be curious to try other boats. But I don't think he would leave as he is so close to moving up the ladder. As am I but I'm getting sick of waiting. What's AB?

dontkillmyvibez8 karma

Thanks for replying. AB stands for Able bodied seaman. Its an endorsement for your MMC. They have different levels that require different amounts of seatime...working 6 years at sea, you should be able to at least get an AB-limited if the vessel you are working on is over 100tons. If not the next level down is AB-special. You must have lifeboat man to get your AB ticket. Its 2 weeks of coast guard classes and 4 tests for AB rating. Then you can basically work on any size boat in the world. QMED stands for Qualified member of engine department. Its the engineering equivalent to AB, but AB is for the deck/pilot house route...QMED is the engine room route. Next license up for an AB is a mate license, then captain. Next license for a QMED is an assistant then engineer. If I were you I would do some internet research on career paths in the gulf. And ways to get licenses and classes to move up in your career path. Everything out here is about sea time, and you have plenty of it.

PM_a_llama11 karma

Wow. Awesome! I haven't really heard anything like this as most people rely on deck tickets around here to land jobs. I will definitely look into it! Thanks so much for pointing me in the right direction for getting started.

Jungster238 karma

Would you recommend this area for a young American (21) to try and get into NZ with a job offer? Would working as a deckhand be a good idea in your opinion? Awesome job btw! Ever traveled around NZ, south island?

PM_a_llama8 karma

Definitely! If you are keen to try it out then why not?! Only thing is if you don't like it, they're not going to turn the boat around and drop you off. But if you think you've got what it takes then come and try it! Working as a deck head is def what you want to do if you are a male. You won't get paid for it unless you get your ticket, and you need a bit of experience before you can do that but it would be worth it. I live in the South Island, Timaru. It is also where my vessel is based. I have travelled a bit of my backyard but I am yet to see either of the Sounds.

tragic-waste-of-skin8 karma

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought you wouldn't make it out alive?

PM_a_llama7 karma

About 4 months ago I enduring the roughest weather I've ever experienced while I've been fishing. I was so terrified that I packed a grab bag and slept in warm clothing in case we had to abandon ship in short notice. My partner told me it wasn't even that bad but I've never been so scared on there before. It had eased off a bit by the time I woke up though. Other than that I haven't feared for my life.

fluffyshuffles6 karma

Is it a "dry" situation where there are no alcohol or drugs allowed on board? Do people smuggle it in anyway? Is there a place to buy cigarettes or other consumables or toiletries on the boat?

PM_a_llama9 karma

Yes absolutely safety first! And yes people smuggle it on. I smoked weed on there when I first started and it was horrible. I was so paranoid with the added extra of involuntary movement and noise didn't help. Haven't done it since. They drug test 4 random people at the end of each trip. If you fail you lose your job. Regardless of who you are or what position you hold. People were always drinking when I first started but they don't really anymore. People use to mix yeast and whatever in buckets and let it fumigate in their lockers over time, then drink that. Yuck. I wouldn't be that desperate. No shop on board our vessel. If you don't bring out enough smokes you are well and truly fucked. Smokes are quite dear in NZ already 50grams tobacco = $60 They sell on the boat for double. I even saw a packet sell for $300 last trip. And it was only a 30gram. Also seen Taylor mades sold at $10 each. Per smoke. Fuck that. I always warn new people but they never seen to think they will smoke that much. Nek minute stealing butts from the ashtray.

Virata2 karma

I figure, as a non-smoker, I'd bring a shit ton of cigarettes and not tell anybody. Then sneakily sell them around the boat under the pretense that it's one of my last few packs. EZ Money

PM_a_llama3 karma

If you brought out enough cigarettes you would make a shit ton of money. If you followed it up when you get off and track down every person who brought off you.

stpfan16 karma

Have you ever had any problems with seasickness?

PM_a_llama12 karma

I get sick every time we sail. I feel quite pathetic since I've been doing it for so long but I take pills for it (Nausicalm - they're very good) and once we set sail we begin to set the factory up and get everything ready so that helps keep me busy and the sickness passes easily. It's so difficult trying to explain to new people that if the lie down and not eat etc they will not get any better. You really have to just harden up and try push through it otherwise it will hang around you like a bad smell. Oh yeah the bad smells don't help either.

NorbitGorbit6 karma

do you believe any part of the job can be taken over by robots in the near future?

PM_a_llama7 karma

Hmm not really in the near future. The way our factory functions is very manual compared to similar trawlers so I guess it kind of has, in some ways already been taking over my automatic things. But luckily it hasn't effected me. Yet.

Bondskyfall0076 karma

What is the neatest thing you have found in a net?

PM_a_llama15 karma

Hmm. That's a hard one. The things that baffles me the most is the amount of massive logs and dead trees that get hauled up. It's so odd to see them floating out in the middle of the ocean it makes me think how far they've travelled. A pair of guys jockeys came up once. That was quite funny. Everyone kept planting them everywhere it was like a never ending joke.

KUD055 karma

How dangerous is it? Would you ever consider the waters closer to Alaska because the pay is probably better? Or not worth the risk?

PM_a_llama9 karma

I would love to travel around and work on different boats. Maybe I will strive to do this in the near future. I know my partner is intrigued by Alaska and he's quite a homebody so I think Alaska is definitely on the cards! My job is not as dangerous as other fishing boats as I don't work on deck. So I don't have the danger of falling over board. But it can still be pretty tough sometimes. I'm always covered head to toe in bruises.

Shut__the_fuck_up5 karma

Congratulations, you have more balls than most of the men browsing reddit.

PM_a_llama1 karma

Thanks :)

Conspirologist5 karma

Do you like eating fish / seafood, or after working as a fisherman you get tired of sea, and prefer more food that belongs to earth?

PM_a_llama9 karma

I get asked this question frequently. I LOVE seafood and if there is fish every day I will eat it. It's good for you and it's as fresh as it comes. You can fillet or prepare anything seafood you like and send it up to the galley to be cooked as long as it has been recorded. It's great because some seafood is ridiculously expensive. For example Scampi is very expensive on land so I just eat it out there. I get sick of having meals like roasts so I miss fast foods sometimes.

Stovokor_X5 karma

What made you decide to become a fisherman. How did you get into this line at a young age ?

PM_a_llama14 karma

I was just a little shit at 17 couldn't hold down a job because I would rather be partying. So I thought I would do one trip since my sister had been working on this boat for three years, and use the money I earned to do a course. I ended up loving it and decided to stay.

Black_Table4 karma

How often do you get to take a break from work (whilst aboard the boat)? What do you do to pass the time?

PM_a_llama7 karma

We work 6 hours on 6 hours off so in your 6 hours off you have to eat, shower, do your laundry, and generally just wind down. My 6 hours off I have a shower then go down to eat. Go outside and smoke and hang out with everyone for about 20 mins then I watch tv for half an hour or an hour. I usually get 3 hours sleep per off shift. It takes awhile to get use to but it's all good.

In our 6 on shift we get a 15minute break.

sarcasticmrfox6 karma

Wouldn't 12 hr shifts work better?

sin_eater823 karma

Don't know why anyone down voted you, it's a fair question.

My best guess is that it's a safety thing.

12 hrs would be a very long shift by most standards. But these jobs can be very physically demanding and the danger/risk is too high to have tired/physically exhausted (beat up) people doing this kind of work.

PM_a_llama3 karma

I would die if we had 12 shifts. Sometimes 6 hours can draaaaag when you are doing the same monotonous job. If we are catching a shit load of fish then we have to kick shift. That's when you work an extra 2.5 hours during your off shift, and get up and do your usual as well. Two people kick at a time, 2 in the first half of the shift and 2 in the second half. With a processing crew of 30 those kick shifts come around fairly quickly and you end up having two normal shifts off then have to kick again. It can break you if we do it all through the trip.

sarcasticmrfox2 karma

It's a tough situation either way, I just think 3 hrs sleep per shift would mess with your body clock.

sin_eater825 karma

Oh, I agree with that 100%. But keep in mind that that's not really innately because of the 6hr shifts. That's her choice for some reason that I do not understand at all.

I'd wake up, do 6hrs of work, 6hr personal time, 6hrs of work, 6 sleep. Next day... Now, I've never worked on a boat to say that would work for sure. But I can't think of any reason why it would not. Maybe because it's tough to just stop working and go to sleep or get up and go straight to work. But I get up and go straight to work as it is. And I'd be tired enough after the second 6hr shift, that I feel like I could fall asleep pretty quickly after showering and get a solid 5hrs of sleep. And maybe take a 30 minutes nap sometime during that other window of personal time.

I'm not sure why anyone would do it the way she does. It's really weird to me actually and the first thing I thought when I read that is how poorly that would work for me.

But she's been doing it for a long time, so I'm guessing it's working for her.

PM_a_llama3 karma

I wouldn't be able to do this as if I don't sleep at all during my shift off I am absolutely fucked for my shift in the factory. And it drags out if you are tired. But it does work for some people. Out skipper does it. And my partner just informed me a few other people have done it as well. Three hours is a good time as if I sleep any longer my body thinks it's getting a 8hr sleep so I don't feel very good when I wake up. 3 hours and it thinks it's like a nap.

PM_a_llama2 karma

We don't do 12 as we would lose more time having to give breaks out. With a 6 hour shift you only need a 15 min break but if we worked 12 we would have to have two 15min breaks plus a meal break in the middle. It wouldn't be worth it processing wise.

The_harbinger20203 karma

How did your friends and family react when you told them what you will be doing? Seems like a very unique job for a 17yo girl to take up

PM_a_llama3 karma

At first my parents would use it as a threat to me as I never went to my land job. "If you don't clean up your act you can go out on the boat with you sister to insure you DO you go to work everyday" Then one day I decided myself I would go out for one trip. After that I wanted to stay and my parents weren't too thrilled at the start (funnily enough) but they don't mind now. My mum still cries every time I leave. Classic mums aye.

alfienism3 karma

What are the wages like? What do you guys eat? Are you the only female on the ship?

PM_a_llama7 karma

The wages are so confusing as you don't get paid by the hour, we are paid a retainer every week. Then we get a bonus for the catch we have brought in after every trip. You also get paid when you are on your off trip for the trip that is currently out at sea. I earn 60k a year working 6months of the year pretty much.

There is a cook on board who cooks breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is amazing you can eat whatever you want whenever you want.

When I first started there weren't many females on board but today there would be about 6 per trip. That's with a crew of 38.

Gurip3 karma

so all things considered the pay isnt bad, considering its free to live there and eat, its pure profit.

how do you deal with living when not working? do you just rent a place for the time and stop renting? or you have your own place?

PM_a_llama3 karma

Most of the senior hands own their own houses and have flatmates to help pay for mortgage. I live with my partner 3 hours away from where I was born and the boat is based, most of the time. But I usually just go with the flow and drive city to city when I get bored. Most crew just couch surf throughout the country or stay with their parents. I use to flat but it was just a waste of money as I was only home half the time.

FriendFoundAccount2 karma

What do you do the other six months of the year when not working the boat?

PM_a_llama11 karma

I use to just piss all my money up and waste it. Not anymore. I have got a traveling bug ever since visiting my friend in New York during my time off. It was so great! After my next trip I am going to Europe for 6 months. I took time off to do a long stint.

Bad_Karma214 karma

That's a long time to travel Europe but at least you can take your time. I'd recommend watching A Map for Saturday before you go

PM_a_llama1 karma

Is it a doco? Thanks for the suggestion I will look into it.

Smoothcarpet3 karma

Where's my suit?

PM_a_llama2 karma

I really don't know. It's one of life's mysteries.

Conspirologist3 karma

Have you seen The Perfect Storm? Are you afraid a storm like this could happen to you on your shift?

PM_a_llama8 karma

I haven't. I hired it out when I picked the DVDs one trip but I was too chicken to watch it. My partner told me realistically if the boat capsized and we were in the factory we would probably not make it out alive. There is so much heavy equipment in there shit already flies everywhere when it's rough so I don't doubt him one bit. So yes. Very afraid that it could happen. But I'll stay positive that it won't.

OldschoolMcClassic3 karma

Any close calls or frightening situations? Do you ever catch any weird creatures?

PM_a_llama11 karma

We have had a couple of fires on board but no so severe where we have had to abandon ship. We did, however, help rescue another trawler that was near us after they caught fire and abandoned ship. We pulled up their life rafts and towed their boat back to port. I slept through the whole thing unfortunately.

Yes. There is some ugly things in the sea. I hate sea lice they creep me out also pulled up two giant squids. Not the world famous one (which was also caught within our fleet) but still pretty big! Both squids were over a meter in length!

Here's one of them http://imgur.com/Ob6AgI6 http://imgur.com/vl2mM2M

implicitus3 karma

I'm curious, what are sea lice?

PM_a_llama7 karma

A disgusting parasite that cling to the fish. I once was filleting a fish and had my fingers in its gills to hold it steady. I felt something latch into me and it was one of these sick puppies but only one the size of your index nail. Ugh.

LeWildest2 karma

Are they of any dangers?

PM_a_llama3 karma

Not unless you were rotting and decayed in the ocean floor. They strip everything down to the bone. Ewww they're so gross.

pat1313 karma


PM_a_llama10 karma

Everyone has to share a cabin unless you are an officer. You usually have 4 people to a cabin but 2 of them are always on shift so you aren't all cramped in a tiny living space. The bunks are all single. Me and my partner use an air bed which takes up the entire floor space.

NYstate3 karma

What's it like to be surrounded only by men for 6 weeks at a time?

Also. Is it intimidating to be a better at something, in this case fishing, than most men?

PM_a_llama9 karma

I don't mind it honestly it can be a fucking nightmare when there are too many girls. All they bring is drama. Sometimes The girls think it's a soap opera and forget what we are really out there for. To work.

I'm not better at recreational fishing as we fish with trawls (massive nets). I actually don't like recreational fishing. My partner loves it. I don't understand how we can be out at sea for 6 weeks then when we dock in he takes his little boat out bed goes fishing. Men are strange.

Kongo19113 karma

Have you ever seen the "green flash"?

PM_a_llama1 karma

I don't know what the "green flash" is sorry. So no.

Xanola1 karma

I believe it is an... optical astrological phenomena where there is a green flash just above the horizon, just after and directly above where the sun sets. It is typically only observable on an unobstucted horizon (like at sea) and even then is only rarely visible.

PM_a_llama2 karma

This is fascinating! I have just taken up an interest in Astronomy so I will look into it... and out for it!

AsterJ3 karma

Is there a gender neutral term for fisherman? It feels a little odd to refer to a woman as a fisherman and fisherwoman has a red squiggly line under it when I type it.

PM_a_llama3 karma

Most people I know just refer to us as boaties.

TimetravelingGuide3 karma

What was your weirdest fishing experience? Have you noticed any decline in the size of the fish you catch?

PM_a_llama3 karma

We have a few people go crazy out at sea. My partner told me of instance where someone was transferred onto our boat because we were due to dock in a few days. He asked to be locked in a cupboard as he had a cold. He then proceeding to throw all of his things overboard and stripped his clothes off and threw them overboard too. He then started to do some sort of dance with a stick. They had to hog tie him as he was trying to attack the other crew members. That was about 8 years ago. I heard he just went out with the trip at sea now. I find it VERY weird that the company decided to take him on. As for the decline in fish size, last year was the worst year I have had out there. We hardly caught any fish and what we did catch was smaller than usual. I was beginning to get worried fishing was over but then the last three trips picked up immensely and the fish has grown bigger.

BanecatIsNotAmused3 karma

Has anyone ever gone crazy while out at sea?

PM_a_llama3 karma

Other than the hog tie guy, we've had a couple. We had just come in for Fuel stop (loading up on fuel) and the crew had been allowed off to go into town for an hour. One of the guys ended up smoking some synthetic cannabis with the other crew. 12 hours after we had set sail again, we were back in the factory processing when he came around and popped a mint in everyone's mouth. To be nice You know, like sharing lollies but we all were packing the fish so he popped them in our mouths for us. A couple of hours into the shift we noticed he was acting strange, He had a crazy look in his eyes and he kept asking us if we believed in God. He was sent upstairs to the deckies locker room to calm down - whatever. He told my best friend also on there at the time, that one of the other crew members was the Maori Queen reincarnated and we should call him by the name "Taiana". My friend came down and told me to go upstairs and look at what he done. I snuck up and pushed the locker room door open to see him standing right there staring at me and he hissed; "What are you doing?". I nearly shat myself. Behind him he had covered the entire wall in fucked up symbols with a whiteboard marker, I just noped out of there, By the time we knocked off shift we were heading back into port to drop him off. When they rang his family they just said, "Oh we were expecting something like this to happen eventually, he's not very stable." WTF?! And I sill can't believe we ate those fucking mints. I was frightened for the rest of the day that he had poisoned us. Luckily they were just mints. Another chick went all crazy saying people were stealing her medication, but it turned out she had split personalities and didn't realize she took them all her self. She also use to talk to the fish.

TL;DR Some people lose their marbles out at sea

BJinandtonic2 karma

what kinda fish are you holding in that picture?

PM_a_llama2 karma

That's a Ling.

Canyouawnserthis2 karma

How did you get your job? Did you apply online? Know somebody or just straight up asked the captain when he was in port?

PM_a_llama2 karma

I just rang up and asked the vessel manager one day and he took me on. I guess it's a hut or miss situation depending if they have enough crew. Sometimes they will take anyone because it's last minute and they're about to sail. Some people go through fishing school but that seems like a waste of time to me.

bichfase2 karma


PM_a_llama4 karma

It's not difficult at all to get a job on a fishing boat in NZ. If you have experience you could just show up down the wharf and ask boats docked in if they need crew. We have taken crew this way. I worked in the land factory for 3 months and I hated it. I never went to work. I rang up the vessel manager for the boat I am now (stoned at the time) and asked for a job. I got one. Heaps of crew go through a fishing school which is a course set up for people on benefit (welfare) to get into the fishing industry. They have to do a trip for free as a cadet so I wouldn't recommend that seeing as if you have experience or know someone in the industry they could get you in. We don't make as much money as they do in Alaska but it's still a good job IMO for how much I make.

DannyCavalerie2 karma

AB here, safe sailin'

PM_a_llama1 karma

Thank you. And the same to you sea farer.

JimsanityOSB2 karma

You could beat up most everyone on Reddit, am I right?

PM_a_llama5 karma

Hahaha. No. I don't fight people. Everyone thinks I'm a tough bitch. I'm not. But it does make me laugh when we get some ghetto girls out here that say that they'll smash this person or that person or me. And I'm just looking at them like, why don't you put all that anger into your work and try smash your job. Because typically they are quite useless.

24redcrayons2 karma

Is your job anything like the ones portrayed in Deadliest Catch?

PM_a_llama3 karma

No. I kept getting asked this while I was in America. People didn't really know what to compare it to so I guess that is the first guess. Our boat is about twice the size and we have a factory below where the fish that is being hauled up is processed. Its quite amazing how fast it can go from being hauled up in a net, to filleted, trimmed, packed & frozen. The waters we are in are no way near as rough as their conditions, plus since our boat is bigger it handles being tossed around the ocean in rough weather better.

Canyouawnserthis2 karma

In my case I'm 17 and I need a way to pay for college could I join for a summer and be back in time for school? Also I have experience on fishing boats been working on a crabbing boat since I was 12 and I'm attending a captains class for charter boats this summer so you could say I'm an old salt haha. I'm also going to a maritime acadamy. So would that be possible work for 2-3 months in the summer?

PM_a_llama1 karma

Yes. That would give you enough time to do one trip on a boat like the one I work on. Seeing as you have experience in crabbing on which I would imagine is on smaller boats? You could do quite a few trips on an inshore boat as they go out for a week at a time and you could do as many trips in a row as you like. You would make better money doing it this way then coming out for one trip us as you'd make better money, so you would save more.

Downvote_MeToHell1 karma

How hard would it be for a guy in his early/mid-twenties to move from the middle of Iowa to get a job out at sea?

PM_a_llama2 karma

I don't know about in your country but I don't think it would be too hard to actually get on the boats in NZ. I don't know how our visas work though. If you are keen for a change and think you could handle it then why don't look into it :)

CrazedPlatypus1 karma

How's the fishing going this year?

PM_a_llama3 karma

Very well in comparison to last year.

IHateReddit921 karma

Have you ever tried and what is your opinion on other fishing methoods sutch as longline fishing and Purse seine ?*hope im translating those right

And whats your favorit fish to fish?

PM_a_llama2 karma

I haven't tried them but the boat that goes to Antarctica in our fleet is a long liner.

I don't really have a favourite. I like processing Ling (the fish in the third photo)

megacorn1 karma

Whats your favourite celebrity fisherman?

PM_a_llama1 karma

Celebrity fisherman? Hmm is there such thing? I guess it would have to be Outdoors With Jeff. That's the only one I can think of.

Chrisrus1 karma

Why are women such a small percentage of commercial fishers?

PM_a_llama1 karma

Some boats don't take women at all. Like the ice breaker in our fleet that goes to Antarctica to catch tooth fish. That cuts me deep because how amazing would it be to go down there for 3 months? I guess the percentage isn't very high because it's not a very glamorous job.

Chrisrus1 karma

Do you think we should be doing more to encourage more women to enter this field?

PM_a_llama2 karma

I guess it depends on the women we are trying to encourage. Hard working girls ready to stick it to the men are a good target audience. But for most women I don't think this job is very appealing. I wish women took more interest in this sort of thing.

Janegoodallsucks1 karma

Do you remember what the practical knot tying portion of the exam entailed? I'm familiar with most of the basics, bowline, clove hitch etc. I looked at the resource guide for the exam on the website and it lists like 40 knots.

PM_a_llama1 karma

I didn't have to learn any knots as I am not a deck hand. Sometimes I try practice when they are teaching the new deck hands knots. I'm not very good. I should try learn a few as it is a good skill to have. I usually just use the ol' granny knot if I have to tie things up. Or ask one of the boys to do it.

fatmasterfu1 karma

would you recommend joining the trawler life?

PM_a_llama1 karma

If you don't mind getting your hands dirty and can handle long hours then sure. It's a great experience and really puts you to the test with dealing with other people as your in close quarters and see everyone at their best and at their worst.

superdooperdumper1 karma

Damn, you must be tough as pig shit left in the sun for a week.

You're my kinda lady.

PM_a_llama1 karma

Thank you kind sir.

thelazyblazy1 karma

As a child, where was your favorite place to fish?

PM_a_llama1 karma

Didn't really fish as a child. But when we did it was just off the wharf In front of the land factory. We never caught anything.

IHateReddit921 karma

What fishes are you mainly fishing?

PM_a_llama2 karma

We target Hoki all year with the exception of a Squid trip at the start of the year.

aguynamedthemike1 karma

Are you a fisherperson or a fish processor?

PM_a_llama2 karma

I'm technically a fish processor. Although my title is Share Fisherman.

pechinburger1 karma

How much of a typical catch is thrown out? I've heard that for every pound of the targeted species, 20 pounds of bykill are caught.

PM_a_llama2 karma

None. It is illegal to discard anything overboard. Less than 20% of our catch is by catch and of that 10% is processed. The other 10% is than turned into fish meal which is used for farming fish.

schlemmla1 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! I have never seen the discovery channel shows about big fishing trawlers/boats but I have seen Perfect Storm. I was wondering (so far it doesn't seem like these have been asked already):

1 - your photo shows you working indoors. How much of the time are you in?

2 - what would you say is the highest waves your boat has been in?

3 - for those that are working on deck, given the size of the boat, how much spray is there from just normal movement through the water of average weather?

PM_a_llama3 karma

I'm always inside if we have fish. If there is downtime (when we aren't catching enough fish to keep us busy all shift) and it's a nice day, we will sit outside in the sun. I go outside 4 times every shift to smoke. Before shift, smoko and after shift twice.

The highest waves have only been about 25ft. That I've seen anyway.

On deck they don't get wet at all if it's not rough. In my second photo they pretty much just run up and down that middle but behind me and below. I have seen deckies taken out by mass waves in rough weather and sweep them straight back down the boat but no one has ever fallen overboard on my Vessel.

ninja_at_law1 karma

Do you live off a fish diet on the boat?

PM_a_llama1 karma

Not so much a diet but I eat it whenever I can. Fresh fish is so delicious. Except Hoki. I don't like that fish. And that's what fish we target.

andonevris1 karma

Why are you not called a fisherwoman?

PM_a_llama1 karma

I suppose I am. It's just easier to say fisherman.

CorribleHunt0 karma

Factory (bottom) Trawlers decimates the sea bed reducing pristine ecosystems that can take thousands of years to develop, into marine scrap heaps in a matter of minutes. It is most likely the most destructive and overpowered type of fishing used in the oceans.

What type of Trawling are you involved in? What is your opinion on the use of such methods?

PM_a_llama1 karma

I am unsure of the damage caused. But if it makes you feel better we only tow in the same areas over ground that has been previously trawled. That makes up for less than 1% of New Zealand's territorial waters. We still catch fish in those areas so it can't be that's damaging to the Eco system.

Wobewt-10 karma

Do you kill whales for fun ?

PM_a_llama6 karma

Ahhh no. You do know Pete Bethune is a kiwi like me. We wouldn't let something like that happen in our waters.