Who We Are
CIAA supports Alaskan fisheries and communities using salmon hatcheries, monitoring stations, and habitat projects throughout the region. Our activities benefit commercial fishing, sport fishing, tourism, and personal use harvests.
We are funded by the Cook Inlet region’s commercial fishing fleet through a voluntary Salmon Enhancement Tax. We also recover costs through special salmon fisheries set aside by the state for aquaculture. Our ultimate goal is to supplement wild runs for common property harvest through good science.
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Why Work for CIAA?
Our seasonal work supports your future educational opportunities and careers in biology, aquaculture, or related fields. It may even lead to a full time position with CIAA.
Life Off the Grid
You’ll work in some of the most beautiful remote locations in Alaska. The work is hands-on and demanding, but the rewards are immeasurable.
Room and Board
You won’t have to worry about a roof over your head and a hot dinner. CIAA provides lodging and food for many temporary positions.
CIAA covers 95 percent of your medical premiums for you and your eligible dependents.
Paid Time Off
We offer generous PTO package that includes leave for vacation, medical, and holidays.
Learning and Development
We offer opportunities for professional development and the pursuit of your career goals.
Some hatchery positions come with fully-covered housing, internet, fuel, and electricity.
We offer a reimbursement program for eligible full-time positions. For our seasonal positions, we typically provide travel to the hatcheries or field camps from our base in Kenai, a community of around 7,700 people.
Working in Alaska
Headquartered in Kenai, CIAA has three year-round salmon hatcheries and several field camps that run each season. Our operating hatcheries are in Moose Pass, Port Graham, and Tutka Bay Lagoon.
Our work revolves around the life cycle of wild salmon populations and many positions are physically strenuous, requiring the ability to lift and pull equipment up to 50 pounds. The spring through early fall months can be the most intense work periods, although we do accomodate shorter stretches of leave. Full-time employees usually plan for longer stretches of time off in late-fall and winter months.
We offer amazing opportunities such as riding in a float plane or boat to remote waterbodies, working safely in proximity to wildlife, and the satisfaction of seeing salmon grow from eggs to juveniles and then return again the next year or two or three!
This all culminates in knowing you have provided opportunities for people to harvest salmon.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the living conditions at the remote camps?
Depending on the site, you will either be staying in a WeatherPort tent or an Airstream camper. The weather ports are 10×12-foot tents mounted on a plywood floor. Inside you will have heat and your own bunk. We also provide basic camping and safety supplies and groceries.
What are the living conditions at a hatchery?
Most seasonal positions at CIAA hatcheries have some form of bunkhouse style housing available with groceries provided while staying in the bunkhouse or facility. Many regular hatchery positions also come with furnished housing and CIAA-paid utilities as a condition of employment.
What is the work schedule at a hatchery?
Salmon hatchery work in Alaska is seasonal. There are periods of time, such as during fish transfers, releases, and egg collections, that it can be all hands on deck but these are generally for short periods.
Does CIAA cover moving expenses?
Newly-hired and transferring regular full-time employees in year-round positions are usually eligible for relocation assistance. CIAA maintains a policy and procedures to help guide employees through this process.
Is there internet and cell phone reception at the remote camps?
While some of the camps do have cell coverage, many do not. For camps without cell reception, we provide a satellite texting device. This is primarily used for daily safety check ins but can also be used to keep in touch with family and friends as needed. Internet at hatcheries is limited to email and other basic functions.
Can I use seasonal employment to fulfill my internship requirements for college?
Yes! We encourage all of our seasonal staff to get as much out of the summer as is possible including assistance in creating and completing senior projects, capstone papers, and institutional internship requirements. We have helped many students with these projects as well as providing recommendations to assist in applying for graduate programs.
Can I show up a few days late or leave a few days early for a seasonal job?
For the remote field camps, we may be able to work with our seasonal staff to arrange for a departure that is slightly earlier than is planned for the project but we cannot have anyone miss the first few weeks of work. This is when we provide all of our training and it is essential that you are here for all of the training sessions.
One thing you can try is to negotiate with your instructors to take exams ahead of time or to get your books for fall and work ahead. Most instructors will understand and provide some leeway so you can make the dates work. For the hatcheries, it is important that you plan on arriving and leaving as agreed to in the initial hiring process.
What Past Employees Are Saying
Working for Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association during the field season of 2020 was one of the highlights of my life. I always wanted to have the true Alaska experience, and this was the perfect opportunity. I couldn’t recommend it enough to anyone who wants to immerse themselves in nature, build their resume, and be a part of lasting conservation.
Having worked in a remote location such as Shell Lake is why I have stood out in a lot of my interviews. Employers are looking for candidates that can work independently, and it doesn’t get much more independent than the Alaskan wilderness. I am very thankful for my time up in Alaska with CIAA.