AMCC Blog

My Other Fishing Clothes: Jamie O’Connor Takes Her Story to D.C.

Date Posted: March 6, 2018       Categories: AMCC Blog Uncategorized

IMAG0888Our flight banked beside the National Mall on approach as the sun set orange over Washington D.C. This was my first trip back since I left my job as a Senate staffer eighteen months before. To get my nerves ready to land, I jacked some nostalgic rock into my headphones. Some of the fishermen flying in with me had never made this landing; some, like me, had seen it many times. This time, however, I was a constituent representing my community, an Alaskan, and a fisherman. Much like before, my job on this trip was to connect Alaskans to their representatives in our nation’s capital. But now, I was also here to share my own story.

“My name is Jamie O’Connor and I’m a fifth-generation salmon fisherman from Bristol Bay,” I’d begin. “I was fortunate enough to grow up fishing with my parents and great-grandparents. Which gives me a special, long view on what happens when you manage your resource for sustainable harvest. In Bristol Bay, it’s resulted in the largest, most sustainable salmon fishery in the world.” I’d pause, waiting for that fact to sink in before continuing. “And we maintain those runs through strong, science-based fisheries management. So, I’m here to ask that we maintain that focus in the Capitol, fund the necessary science, and use it to ensure that my great-grandchildren, and the generations that follow them, may benefit from the fishing culture and livelihood that has given me so much. Someday it will be their turn to feed the world.”

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I repeated that introduction thirteen times over two days with varying delivery to offices on and off the Hill. So did the eight other fishermen in our group. While each of our stories were a little different, each supported the science-based management policy we’d flown 4,000 miles to discuss and each connected to the staffer or Congress Member sitting across the table in its own way. Sharing your story is sometimes all you can to do to stand up for what you and your industry need, young fishermen. So don’t be afraid to trade out your slickers for a blazer once in a while. This work is equally important and we can’t keep fishing without it.

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Jamie is a fifth-generation fisherman from Dillingham, Alaska.
Fishermen, pilots, and a noisy librarian raised her at the family set-net operation on Ekuk beach.
She graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a degree in journalism and public
communication. Then spent a year building Senator Dan Sullivan’s new front office and internship
program, before returning to Bristol Bay with the salmon run. And that’s where you’ll find her, each
summer for the rest of her life.

 

 



Fellowship Application Deadline Extended to March 7th and We have added another awesome partner organization.

Date Posted: February 27, 2018       Categories: AMCC Blog

We have extended our deadline for applications until Wednesday, March 7th! Plus, we’ve added another awesome partner organization. Join Ecotrust for the opportunity to coordinate an Anchorage-based “Know Your Fisherman” fair and support other seafood business/markets activities. This fellowship is focused on strengthening connections between seafood producers and local seafood consumers. For more information, to apply today, and for other fellowship opportunities click here: https://www.akyoungfishermen.org/20182019-fellowship-opportunities

Community Supported Fishery Fellow

 



AMCC is now accepting applications for the 2018-2019 Fishing Fellows Program.

Date Posted: February 13, 2018       Categories: AMCC Blog Uncategorized
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Carina Nichols Currently an AMCC fishing fellow with the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and a member of the advisory panel on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

AMCC is thrilled to be partnering with five incredible host organizations across coastal Alaska for our 2018-2019 Fishing Fellows Program!

Check out our current list of fellowship projects here.

Consider applying for one yourself or share these opportunities with a young fisherman in your life.

The deadline to apply February 28, 2018!

 



In Memoriam – A Tribute to Our Friend Michelle Ridgway 1963 – 2018

Date Posted: February 6, 2018       Categories: AMCC Blog Uncategorized

michelle ridgway tribute

Michelle Ridgway served on the Alaska Marine Conservation Council board of directors from 1995 to 2001. She brought tremendous integrity, energy, and warmth to our work and our family of coastal Alaskans committed to community-based conservation. Michelle gave generously to AMCC, to marine conservation overall, and to the people whose ways of life are closely intertwined with the ocean. Perhaps the most important beneficiaries of Michelle’s single-mindedness were the youth who were inspired by her zest for life and learning, the children who would need to be equipped to carry on the job of care-taking the ocean into the future. Michelle was a force of life. She was an ocean explorer, an invincible advocate, and a beautiful writer and speaker. She was happiest underwater in a wetsuit or piloting a research submarine, being part of the ocean. But she was also a fierce voice in the policy arena promoting sustainable fisheries, protecting clean water, and safeguarding living seafloor habitats. She used her marine ecology acumen to scrutinize decisions that most others at the table considered from narrower perspectives.

 

We are ever grateful to Michelle’s dedication to conservation
and the spirit that she brought to our collective efforts.

~

 

I was lucky to have served with Michelle on AMCC’s board in its early years. I was constantly in awe of her positive energy and enthusiasm for our work—and for everything that had to do with marine science and conservation. Michelle made things happen. One fond memory I have is from a board meeting in Sitka during the spring herring spawn. Michelle (of course) had friends with boats, and soon we were all on the water collecting and eating roe on spruce boughs. It was a celebratory time, a spontaneous outing, during which we could all appreciate the values of coastal Alaska we were working to protect. I’ve seen little of Michelle in recent years but continued to admire her deep commitment to and involvement in conducting science, communicating science, and—perhaps especially—working with young people to share her love for science, exploration, and the providing ocean.

— Nancy Lord

Michele fishing boat

 

I had the honor of assisting Michelle at the Nuniaq Marine Science Camp in Old Harbor. We spent a week together, sleeping in a wall tent, leading children in a range of science activities which culminated in “deep sea exploration” with the launching of an ROV to view what lies beneath the ocean. Thanks to Kodiak’s Mark Blakeslee, who supplied the “Phantom HD2,” every child had the opportunity to operate the ROV.  Michelle made us all scientists and near the end of camp all the children worked late into the night to catalog the species we encountered and the habitat where we found them. Not a moment was wasted — we were all scientists on a very important mission and Michelle did not let us forget that.

Michelle may not have lived a long life, but she lived life more fully than many who live to a ripe old age. She lived with zest, passion, commitment, and unflagging energy.

— Diana DeFazio

michelle w ROV

Michelle was an amazing marine biologist. Her favorite activities, other than exploring the world’s oceans and discovering their secrets, were sailing those oceans and teaching coastal children how to discover those secrets too.

… and needless to say, she was an awesome and true friend. She had done so much and survived so much, that I always thought I would see her again. Whenever we would depart each other’s company, for our “normal lives,” I would have this fleeting vision of us in our 70’s and 80’s laughing and looking back on all that we had done, filling in the details of adventures … no embellishments required.

— Bob Mikol

ridgway mudflatMichelle was an invaluable mentor to Kodiak’s small boat jig fleet during her tenure on the Advisory Panel to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. She listened to the fishermen and provided guidance to fleet members unfamiliar with the difficult Council process. Her support was heart felt and genuine and her enthusiasm was contagious. With Michelle’s encouragement those fishermen persistently attended every meeting and saw the action through to the end— successfully carving out a little of the federal Pacific cod fishery for the jig fleet, complete with room to grow.

— Theresa Peterson

 

Michelle was both fierce and fearless in defending Alaska’s marine life and life ways. I always thought of her as Alaska’s own ocean amazon. She inspired and challenged us all to do more.

I remember her telling me about some project samples she was working on, from around Kodiak, I think. She was totally focused and excited about the results when she casually mentioned she almost did not get the samples. When pressed she said it was at the end of the day when some sea lions showed up and decided to take a closer look. They kept coming up to her – curious or aggressive, maybe both. That’s when I realized she had been diving, near dark, among sea lions, in cold water – alone. Apparently this wasn’t remarkable enough for her to even mention. Absolutely fearless both in water and out.

— Nevette Bowen

ridgway grass

Michelle came to AMCC right after the group was formed. She brought science credibility and a new wave of enthusiasm. What strikes me is how young we all were. When Michelle came on board were all in our early 30s working on some really big policy issues — ‘96 Magnuson Act reauthorization, ending wasteful by catch and discards, American Fisheries Act pollock rationalization, and others.

Michelle was a scientist, but she had passion and would take risks. I remember her at a Homer AMCC board meeting holding court for first time admirers. Everyone was instantly attracted to her. She was telling us all about her underwater dare-devil exploits. She played hockey with the boys and rode in a submarine. What more can I say. We were friends for life!

Michelle was savvy politically and new what it takes to get things done. She was a scientist with an edge. She must have felt like a lone wolf on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Advisory Panel on many issues — like calling out the importance of habitat protections for special areas. She was tireless in advocating for clean water in Southeast Alaska as she battled the cruise ship industry lobby.

I spoke to Michelle a couple weeks before she passed away. She was worried about the warming ocean and cod declines. She made a comment about us on the NPFMC being slow in response. And we talked about hockey.

— Buck Laukitis



Tanner Crab Fishery Reopens in Kodiak: Theresa Peterson

Date Posted: January 19, 2018       Categories: AMCC Blog AMCC in the News Press Releases Uncategorized

Local Tanner crab vessels steamed out of Kodiak and Old Harbor on January 18th, with high hopes for a successful crab season.  We always leave that way, full of hope. Why else would we keep going out?

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Tanner crab boat, F/V Jamboree, heads out to the fishing grounds.

The winter Tanner crab fishery is somewhat unique in that it was designed with input from the community-based fleet. Fishermen wanted managers to factor in safety, equity, and conservation into how the fishery operates.

One way managers do this is by using the weather to dictate openings. If the daily weather update for the fishing grounds includes a gale warning, managers delay the fishery for 24 hours. Doing so provides for greater safety and equity in the fishery, as it is dangerous for smaller vessels to travel in rough weather with crab gear on their decks. While it may be an uncomfortable ride for an 80-foot vessel carrying 20 heavy crab pots out to the grounds, it is rarely life threatening. However, for a 42-foot shallow draft seiner, like our boat, it is life threatening and we would have to stay in town. Thus, without the weather stand down, the fishery could be harvested with by a handful of larger boats while the rest of the fleet is tied to the docks. Working together, the fishermen came up with a solution. This year, the season was delayed for three days due to gale winds clocked at up to 106 knots.

The fishery was also designed with input by fishermen to have a minimal impact on Tanner crab stocks. Crab pots can only be hauled from 8:00 in the morning until 6:00 at night, thereby reducing the mortality of discarded crab—those that are undersized or female. Minimizing the number of times a pot is hauled and therefore how often crab are handled reduces stress on the resource.  The daylight-only requirement limits the exposure of discarded crab to colder temperatures in the night. Vessels are also limited to 20 pots, depending on the total allowable catch of crab, which serves to both minimize the impact of the gear on the crab and level the playing field. When the allowable harvest goes up, so does the number of pots the fishermen can use. When the total allowable catch is under 2 million pounds, the limit is 20 pots; as that catch rises, the number of pots allowed stair-steps all the way to 60 pots (when the allowable catch is over 5 million pounds. This year the total allowable catch for the Kodiak Island district is 400,000 pounds, and after a four-year closure due to low crab abundance, fishermen are supportive of the limit and just happy to be fishing.

 

Tanner Crab Picking Pot

Crew members Jay Lund and Hunter Bigley, two young men raised in Kodiak, carefully sort a pot of Tanner crab on the F/V Patricia Sue.

In a town like Kodiak, which is sustained by fishing, there are few opportunities to make a living other than commercial fishing.  As community-based fishermen dependent on the health of the fisheries resource to make a living, many fishermen advocate in the fisheries policy arena in support of sustainable fisheries and opportunities for the next generation. We work hard to share both our experience and knowledge of the industry with management bodies like the Alaska Board of Fish and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. Both of these bodies are set up to provide stakeholder input, and policy makers value the contribution of the fishermen to inform decisions. This process, coupled with the influence of strong science, has led to the world-class, sustainable fisheries that are found throughout Alaskan waters.  I’m proud to call this state and Kodiak Island my home, and will continue to advocate for policies that sustain the stocks and provide other families the opportunity to make a living from the sea.



A Tanner “Giant Snow” Crab Offering

Date Posted: January 18, 2018       Categories: AMCC Blog AMCC in the News Uncategorized

CATCH 49 - Alaska's Seafood Hub

For the first time in four years, the commercial Tanner crab fishery has opened, and AMCC is once again offering delicious Kodiak Tanner crab harvested by small-boat, conservation-minded fishermen to residents of the Anchorage and the MatSu area. This will be a short offering, from January 9th to the 19th, with limited crab available for purchase, so order while you can!

 ORDER NOW

The Tanner crab fishery is extremely important to the diverse fishing portfolio of Kodiak’s small-boat fishermen. Your crab is harvested by local  conservation-minded fishermen in Kodiak, flash frozen, and shipped by air immediately to Anchorage. Available in 17 lb. shares of frozen leg clusters for $275. Orders must be placed by Friday, January 19th and picked up in Anchorage on January 29th from the AMCC office at 106 F St., between 10 am and 6 pm. (No shipping available.)


Executive Director Search Re-Opened

Date Posted: January 17, 2018       Categories: AMCC Blog AMCC in the News Uncategorized

AMCC has re-opened the search process for an Executive Director after an initial first round of trying to identify our next leader. Outgoing Executive Director, Kelly Harrell, departed the organization after nearly 7 years at the helm

AMCC is offering a rare opportunity to lead a thriving nonprofit organization supporting sustainable fisheries, marine conservation, and strong communities. For more than two decades, AMCC has been a respected force in advancing major policies and advocating for marine conservation. The successful candidate for Executive Director (ED) will demonstrate a strong commitment to this vision and have a proven track record as a highly effective and collaborative team leader with demonstrated fundraising skills. Under the direction of a dedicated Board of Directors and working with a highly accomplished staff, the ED will lead the organization into the next chapter of a successful history.

The ED will work with a dynamic board and staff to sustain and increase the capacity of the organization through strategic and annual planning to achieve the organization’s goals. The ED is responsible for all aspects of fundraising, fiscal and operations management, staff development, and program innovation and evaluation. The ED manages an organizational budget of approximately $1 million. The position is based in AMCC’s main office in Anchorage, Alaska. The salary range is $70-80,000, depending on experience.

Applications are being accepted now, and will be considered until the position is filled. Please see http://www.akmarine.org/who-we-are/our-team/jobs-and-internships/ for directions on how to apply and a more detailed description.

The updated Executive Director job posting can be found here. Please share!

An Interim Director has been appointed while our search for a permanent E.D. continues. Our dedicated Board is committed to a  successful transition and is working with staff to ensure the organization continues to fire on all cylinders.



2017 Raffle Winners – Congratulations!

Date Posted: December 18, 2017       Categories: AMCC Blog Uncategorized       Tags: Boogie, Homer, raffle

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for – the announcement of the 2017 AMCC Raffle Drawing Winners! Thank you to the hundreds of people who purchased a raffle ticket and supported our cause, your contribution will go a long way in helping us maintain healthy oceans and thriving coastal communities. Now, for the drumroll……If your name is on this list, we will be contacting you with instructions about how to proceed. Congratulations and, again, THANK YOU!

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boogiecrowd boogie reading and buoys boogie almnanac reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Announcing Call for 2018-2019 Host Organizations for AMCC Fishing Fellows Program!

Date Posted: December 13, 2017       Categories: AMCC Blog AMCC in the News Uncategorized       Tags: Fisheries Access, Fishing Fellows, Working Waterfronts, Young Fishermen's Network

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AMCC is excited to announce that the application period for Alaska organizations interested in hosting a fishing fellow in 2018 is now open!

Our current cohort of fellows continue to impress us on and off the water. You can read more about what they are up to here and here.  

If you are an organization working on marine and fisheries related issues please consider hosting a fishing fellow. The deadline for this application period is January 16, 2018. You can submit your application and short fellowship project description at: akyoungfishermen.org

In early 2018, we will select 3-5 organizations to host fellows in the upcoming year. Once we’ve selected host organizations and projects we will put out the call for applicants interested in serving as fishing fellows. AMCC provides each fellow with a stipend. Host organizations provide mentorship, guidance and hands-on learning and leadership opportunities.

You can find more information on AMCC’s Fishing Fellows Program and answers to FAQs here.

Click here to apply to host a fellow in 2018-2019. 
P.S. For inspiration and ideas, you can read about 2017-2018 fellowship projects here.



Ocean Acidification’s New Adventure — Nancy Lord’s pH: a Novel

Date Posted: November 11, 2017       Categories: AMCC Blog       Tags: Ocean Acidification, Ocean Acidification in Alaska

phcoverReview by: Courtney Schuman, AMCC Intern

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Nancy Lord, a founding member of AMCC and author of the new science-in-fiction novel entitled ph: A Novel.

pH: A Novel provides a futuristic account of Ocean Acidification through fiction and science. Nancy Lord has produced a unique work that brings ocean acidification to life in a way not many have attempted before. Lord and a few other authors (like Barbara Kingsolver and her book Flight Behavior) have ventured into the genre of science in fiction, as opposed to science fiction. In pH, Lord allows real science to intermingle with fictional characters. Using a bit of humor, Lord is able to take the rather daunting topic of Ocean Acidification and make it into an enjoyable read.

Lord has a Master of Fine Arts and is no foreigner to the field of Ocean Acidification. She has been a Homer, Alaska resident for 44 years, commercial fished for many of those years and was a founding member of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. Her research for this novel included participation on a scientific cruise, attendance at an Ocean Acidification Conference in Monterey Bay, and extensive reading.

Lord had a vision to place her novel in the future, which made for an interesting battle with the fast-developing field of Ocean Acidification. It was almost as if it was a race between the scientists and Lord to see who could find the next piece of the puzzle first.

Even though pH is a science-based book, Lord has made this adventure accessible to all readers. This book is perfect for any reader who is interested in science but still enjoys a well told fictional story. The novel takes place entirely in Alaska, focusing on the Alaskan experience of science and the effects of Ocean Acidification.

The seriousness of Ocean Acidification is acknowledged in Lord’s novel, but she hopes that the main takeaway by readers includes some joy as well as learning. She has said, “The big problem is that the solution is so difficult. The solution is reducing our carbon emissions….we need to be adaptive and resilient.”

To find out more about Nancy Lord and any of her books, please visit her website:
www.writernancylord.com.

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