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Due North

Bristol Bay Fish Expo!

On June 8-9, Noah Sunflower and Erika Stroh, headed to Naknek to participate in the 2nd Annual Bristol Bay Fish Expo.

 Bristol Bay Beach

Bristol Bay Beach

With the help of Bristol Bay fishermen, Erica Madison and Mili Lundgren, Noah and Erika sold merchandise, such as “I ‘Fish’ Bristol Bay” T-Shirts and Hoodies, gathered donations, and collected sign-ons for the science-based reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act throughout the weekend. After the first day, there was a fashion show and silent auction, showcasing vital pieces every fishermen ought to have.

 AMCC Intern, Erika Stroh, tabling at the Expo.

AMCC Intern, Erika Stroh, tabling at the Expo.

The next morning a Speed Hiring event, hosted by AMCC, kick-started the expo and was screaming success. Twenty captains and crew met and discussed the upcoming season. Five crew were hired including Adam Henry on David Johnson’s boat, the F/V Kubak. The expo continued, and organizations began to table for the second day. During this time, news reporters Lanie Welch and Margaret Bauman were preparing for that evening's event, the gubernatorial debate. This was a debate between candidates Mark Begich, Bill Walker, Mike Dunleavy, Mike Chenault and Scott Hawkins. It was an informational and successful discussion between the candidates as they expressed their stances on important topics such as the Stand For Salmon initiative and Pebble Mine.

 Speed Hiring event (Top Left), David Johnson and Adam Henry (Top Right), and the Gubernatorial Debate (Bottom).

Speed Hiring event (Top Left), David Johnson and Adam Henry (Top Right), and the Gubernatorial Debate (Bottom).

Overall, the 2nd Annual Bristol Bay Fish Expo was a sensation and AMCC is sure to be coming back!

 

 

 

Noah Sunflower
Recruitment and Engagement

Commercial fishing has long been an iconic Alaskan profession. As a fisherman, each day on the water is different and it is absolutely a unique and special kind of work. Fishing demands a unique breed of individual – you must be resilient, optimistic, business savvy, hard-working and tenacious. Modern commercial fishermen must also stand as responsible stewards of the resource, business owners and community leaders. It is a multi-faceted challenge that today’s young fishermen are faced with and at the heart of it all is the need for healthy fish stocks and science based management.

In fisheries, recruitment can be defined as the number of fish surviving to enter a fishery. Recruitment is affected by many factors such as temperature, competition for food, number of offspring produced, and mortality rates. Variability in recruitment is a major driver for changes in fish populations. In today’s commercial fishing reality of increasingly complex and diverse challenges, young fishermen entering into fisheries can be considered as a “recruitment event” that is also affected by many factors. These factors include cost of entry, environmental changes, increased competition for the right to fish, an understanding of management systems, regulation compliance and business management skills.

There is currently a lack of youth both entering fisheries and entering management and leadership positions in fisheries. As a Young Fishing Fellow sponsored by the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, I had the opportunity to conduct fisheries policy analysis. The fellowship program was created to support the next generation of fishing leaders by providing mentorship and hands-on-learning through fisheries related projects. Each selected fellow is paired with an organization to help them gain experience and to benefit a local organization. I worked in partnership with the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA). ALFA works to promote sustainable fishing and small-scale fisheries through research and policy advocacy.

The fellowship also focused on outreach to educate and engage other young fishermen in fisheries, management, marketing and marine science through participation in forums and programs such as the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit, the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network, and ALFA’s young Fishermen’s Initiative. One aspect of ALFA’s Young Fishermen’s Initiative is a crewmember apprenticeship program. This developing program is designed to teach apprentices the intricacies of commercial fishing alongside sustainable fishing practices. Other programs in support of Alaska’s commercial fishing youth include the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust, working to establish funding to help young fishermen buy into commercial fishing, and Sea Grant’s Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit, designed to provide training and information for commercial fishermen early in their careers. It is exactly these types of programs that will aid in recruitment, retention and engagement within our commercial fisheries.

I write this from my office of the moment – the galley table. We are anchored in a remote bay in SE Alaska waiting for storm winds to subside so we can head back out to sea and finish our fishing trip.

Happy fishing to you,

 

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Noah Sunflower
Georgeanna Heaverley on Fisherpoets.

 

I haven’t been a fisherpoet for long, but upon diving into this creative world that seems to go hand in hand with ripping fish out of the ocean to feed the world – I felt a perfect fit. Being out on the water and connecting with the salmon brings out an intense inspiration that I believe you cannot find anywhere else. As I was given the opportunity to share my work with this growing community of rhyme-spouting fisherpeople, I gained an enriching experience that I will truly never forget.

For 21 years the Fisherpoets Gathering has been held in Astoria, Oregon. Each year the number of participants and audience members grows, and this year was the largest yet. Each poet received fifteen minutes to present their material. As there were over 110 poets at the event, seven different venues were used to accommodate everyone. On the opening night I was to perform in a showroom at a local brewery. I was one of the first to present but was glad for this as I could enjoy the rest of my evening having gotten the butterflies out of my stomach. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the other poets, but needless to say I was absolutely blown away. I laughed and I wept as I listened to poets from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and even Maine share their experiences out on the water. There were poems and prose to be heard, stories to be shared, and some even played their guitars and sang.

Throughout the weekend there were opportunities to participate in poetry workshops, go on tours of the local canneries and museums, and peruse the “Gearshack,” where poets and artists could sell their work. I sold most of the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Almanacs that I had brought with me and received a lot of positive feedback on the book. I was able to tour the Columbia River Maritime Museum and upon doing so, learned about the history of Oregon fisheries and how extremely dangerous it is for vessels to cross the treacherous bar where the River meets the Pacific Ocean. I also participated in a workshop for the organization, “The Strength of the Tides,” whose mission is empowering and protecting young women in commercial fisheries.

I would recommend attending this event to everyone, both fishermen and fishing appreciators. I sincerely hope I have the opportunity to go again. The inspiration I gained at the Fisherpoets Gathering in Astoria will fuel even more poetry I will write, waiting to be shared with the salty storytellers of the fishing community.

 

 

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Noah Sunflower
Almanac Update

Sales of the Alaska Young Fishermen's Almanac have exceeded expectations!

Over 300 copies have sold which has generated more than $6000 in funding for the next printing of the Almanac. The Alaska Young Fishermen's Network has been able to create a publication from scratch.  It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of those who came before that we are now able to look forward to new volumes of the Almanac for years to come. 

 Rich stories, sketches from the sea, recipes, poetry, time-tested advice, knot-tying - these are just some of the elements that weave into the fishing net of our lives. Salmon Sisters is proud to make the  Almanac  available for purchase on their website. Your purchase will go far - by buying an Almanac you are supporting young fishermen and helping them take on leadership roles within their communities and fisheries.

Rich stories, sketches from the sea, recipes, poetry, time-tested advice, knot-tying - these are just some of the elements that weave into the fishing net of our lives. Salmon Sisters is proud to make the Almanac available for purchase on their website. Your purchase will go far - by buying an Almanac you are supporting young fishermen and helping them take on leadership roles within their communities and fisheries.

Jason Dinneen