TN 22 (04-01)

RS 01901.280 Fishermen, Crabbers, Spongers, Etc.


Section 210(a)(20) of the Social Security Act;
Regulation No.4, Sec. 404.1031.


  1. 1. 

    Services of crew members on a fishing boat are excluded from employment when:

    • the size of the crew is fewer than 10 members, and

    • their remuneration is either a share of the catch or a share of the proceeds from the sale of the catch; and

    • the amount of the share depends on the amount of the catch.

    When these conditions are met, the crew member is self-employed.

  2. 2. 

    The Small Business Jobs Protection Act of 1996, effective with remuneration paid after 1994, excludes the services of crew members from employment when:

    • the number of crew members is no more than 10 based on the average size of the crew over the previous calendar quarter, and

    • the remuneration for the crew member is no more than $100 per trip. This cash must be paid solely for additional duties such as mate, engineer, or cook for which additional cash remuneration is traditional in the industry.

  3. 3. 

    When these conditions are met, the crew member is self-employed.

NOTE: These requirements also apply to the period 1985 through 1994, unless the remuneration was treated by the payor as wages when paid.


1. From 1940 Through 1954

Service performed in catching, taking, harvesting, cultivating or farming of any kind of fish, shellfish, crustacea, sponge, or seaweed, or other forms of aquatic life is excepted unless:

  • the service is performed in connection with the catching or taking of salmon or halibut for commercial purposes; or

  • the service is performed on or in connection with a vessel of more than 10 net tons as determined by registry.

NOTE: For the years 1955 through 1971, there is no specific provision regarding fishermen, crabbers, spongers, etc.

2. Before 1940

All service on vessels is excepted from employment.

NOTE: Before 1940, seining from the bank, raising or taking frogs, oysters, fish, etc., from shallow waters not requiring a boat or vessel is not excepted from employment.

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
RS 01901.280 - Fishermen, Crabbers, Spongers, Etc. - 11/15/2002
Batch run: 07/03/2014