Pay as a helicopter mechanic aboard the Auro in 1997 was much better than what I was making as a Quality Assurance Inspector at Robinson Helicopter (in hindsight, the pay there wasn’t so great, so it’s not shocking that StarKist paid much better).

Working for StarKist I made something like 2 or 3 times what I would have for the same 7 week period working at the helicopter factory. But there is a reason the pay is good – it is a hard job. Not physically hard, but mentally hard. Being on a 225 ship for a couple of months at a time gets old. Fast.

I got paid a certain amount per ton of tuna that the cannery accepted. There is always going to be a certain tonnage of fish that is rejected, and you don’t get paid for this amount. As a matter of fact, it looks like there was just over 4 ton of fish that was rejected. That’s a lot of fish! 8,000+ pounds. Damn!

I was paid $6.50 per ton of (accepted) fish. Total weight I was paid for ended up being 1,124.128 tons. A ton is 2,000 pounds, so that means there was 2,248,256 pounds of fish that I made money on. Yikes, that’s a lot of sushi!

More fun facts: Looks like my satellite phone bill (for use of the fax machine) ended up being $125.53. That’s fax data only. No voice. Makes my current data plans look downright affordable!

There are two pay stubs below. The way StarKist paid was you would get a large direct deposit soon after arriving back in port. This is based upon the amount of fish the captain reported catching, minus a 15% reserve (to account for bad fish, etc), and minus a contract tonnage amount (I don’t recall what this was for). Then after all the fish have been processed and a total tonnage has been calculated, StarKist cut you a final check (from the final check stub – that I didn’t include –  it looks like there was about a 3 week delay to get the final, relatively small, check).