Real Talk w/ a Commercial Fishing Woman

commercial-fishing-woman

If that title didn’t pique your interest, Jasmyn Te’o’s story will.

Not only did commercial fishing help get her on her feet, but she’s also a real estate agent, too. So that means, when you eat your next wild cod, Jasmyn may have caught it for you. And if you’re looking for a house in Vegas, Jasmyn can hook you up.

But, wait! There’s more.

You’ll learn the challenges of a woman in a male-dominated industry. Challenges that didn’t derail her from becoming her best self, but taught her never to give up.

Meet Jasmyn Te’o:

commercial-fishing-woman

How old are you and where are you from?  

I’m 25, and I live in Las Vegas, Nevada.  

When did you first learn about commercial fishing, how long ago did you start?

I actually learned about fishing from my aunt, who is a foreman on a factory trawler, about five years ago.

I was homeless, living with a friend, and broke. No job, no car, no money.

My aunt reached out to me and told me I could live on the boat for a little bit if I worked really hard. I had nothing to lose, so I had my dad buy my flight to Seattle, and the rest is history!

(I thought I knew hard work, but now I KNOW THAT I KNOW hard work!)

Where and what do you fish?

When I started fishing, it was in Cordova, Alaska, for salmon and in the Bering Sea for pollock. But now I fish in the Bering Sea for cod, and that’s what I’ll probably keep fishing.   

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What are some of the most challenging parts of the industry? 

The most challenging part of the industry is the hours. Going to sleep at 1 am and waking up at 4 am is hard, but you get used to it.

It’s also mentally difficult – some of the people you’re stuck with (on the boat) can really work the nerves. Haha! 

As a woman being around a bunch of dudes, did you experience any sexual harassment at all?

When I processed on the factory trawlers, I had a lot of sexual harassment issues, from creepy letters, someone grabbing my waist, and even had someone watch me sleep! I’ll give you a rundown of the story:

My roommate woke me up and told me when he walked in, a guy was standing in my doorway watching me sleep! What a creep! I told the skipper and got him fired.

But once I became a deckhand, I never had issues, maybe because I was with my boyfriend. Smaller boats have smaller crews, and, luckily, the crews on my pot boat are very respectful, or they’re just scared of my 6’4 boyfriend! 

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What do you miss about commercial fishing and why?

The thing I miss most is the whole lifestyle, from the rocking boat to the gorgeous views every day to the workout! I miss it all.

I honestly love getting away from the world, and fishing feels like an escape to me. No cell service, no worries, no filling up at the gas station or buying groceries, it’s just working hard and focus on the task at hand, and I love that. It’s a little vacation for me, honestly!  

Do you plan to do it again? Why or why not?

This is where I’m conflicted.

I love fishing and the lifestyle, but I’m also a licensed real estate agent in Las Vegas, and I’m really trying to pursue that.

I go through phases where I just want to go fishing and escape, because I’m comfortable with that, and then another part of me wants to step out of my comfort zone and hit real estate full force.

So right now, I’m doing what I can in real estate, and I have some clients that I can’t just up and leave. So, for now, I won’t be fishing, but the possibility for a future season hangs heavy in my atmosphere at all times! It’s a part of me now, and every true fisherman who says they’re done is never really done!

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What’s your advice for women who want to get into this line of work?

My advice for women thinking about this life is to go for it!

Women are just as capable as men in all aspects; some things we are better at, and some things we are worse at, but you must mentally prepare for what’s to come.

Just know you may get harassed, you may get paid less than the men, and they will test you! But if I can do it, so can other women, and I commend ANYONE who is a commercial fisherman. Men and women! 

Are you a commercial fisherman or woman? Please share your favorite part of commercial fishing in the comments below!

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IF YOUR LOVED ONE IS A FISHERMAN, JOIN THE PRIVATE GROUP, PARTNERS OF COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN HERE!

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