Alaskan Young Fishermen to Travel Cross-Country to Learn, Bring Awareness to Role of the Next Generation
AMCC contacts for the trip:
Hannah Heimbuch, firstname.lastname@example.org , (907) 299-4018; Kelly Harrell, email@example.com (907) 903-4163
From March 6-13, a group of 10 young Alaskan fishermen will travel across the country to deepen their understanding of seafood markets, fisheries policy, and food systems issues, while bringing awareness to the important role that young fishermen play in all of these arenas.
“Alaska’s Next Generation of Fishermen Spring Educational Tour” will include stops at the Boston Seafood Show, Washington D.C., and Slow Fish in New Orleans. The idea for the trip was born out of the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network, a project that the Alaska Marine Conservation Council helped kick start in 2014 to connect and support young fishermen across Alaska.
The spring tour will provide the group a chance to build knowledge as well as relationships with other fishermen — from Alaska and beyond. From ensuring access to fisheries for the next generation, to addressing environmental threats and innovating in the marketplace, many common themes can be found across fishing communities. Young fishermen are a critical, yet underrepresented voice in shaping the future of important issues like these.
One item the group plans to advocate for includes a federal program to support beginning fishermen. While there are numerous programs that bolster young farmers, no similar support programs exist for fishermen who play a similarly important role in our food systems and rural communities as harvesters of healthy, wild food and small business owners.
“As food harvesters, small business owners and marine stewards, we have a unique role in the future of not only our fisheries, but our coastal communities,” said Hannah Heimbuch, the Alaska Marine Conservation Council’s Homer Fisheries Organizer.
“It is vital that this next generation of fishermen and fishery leaders understand and engage in the seafood marketplace and policy arenas that shape our livelihoods and affect our coastal ecosystems. Having a voice in federal fisheries issues like the Magnuson Stevens Act and ocean acidification legislation, and connecting with sustainable fisheries movements like Slow Fish, allow us to help build a stronger fishing future, rather than passively inheriting the status quo,” Heimbuch said.
Throughout the trip, attendees will write blog posts and create multimedia material to document the experience as the group travels to the different cities and events. Updates will be posted at: http://www.akmarine.org/working-waterfronts/young-fishermen/young-fishermen-educational-tour/
Through increased visibility and momentum, the trip will help fuel the future growth of the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network. Participants will bring back what they learned to help celebrate, advocate, and innovate within their own fishing businesses and communities. In addition to advocating for a federal program to support beginning fishermen, future plans of the Network include roundtable meetings in communities as well as a “New Fishermen’s Almanac,” which will get underway this year with support from the Alaska Humanities Forum.
*March 6-7: “Seafood Expo North America (aka Boston Seafood Show),” Boston
The 2016 expo will include seafood buyers from a wide range of sectors including food service, processing, catering, and restaurant industries along with educational sessions.
*March 8-9: Washington D.C.
The group will visit congressional offices and agency leaders to discuss relevant issues such as the Magnuson Stevens Act and ocean acidification. Building fisheries policy knowledge and lobbying skills will be the focus.
*March 10-13: “Slow Fish” in New Orleans
Fishermen, scientists, chefs, students, and food businesses will gather for Slow Fish, which will be held for the first time this year in the U.S. The conference builds on the “Slow Fish” movement, which focuses on the ecological, economic, and political challenges impacting global fisheries.
List of Participating Young Fishermen:
Matt Alward, Homer (Seine, Longline)
Marissa Wilson, Cordova (Longline, Tender)
Darren Platt, Kodiak (Seine)
Carina Nichols, Sitka (Longline)
Kiril Basargin, Razdolna (Drift, Longline, Jig)
Claire Neaton, False Pass / Homer (Longline, Seine)
Michael Shangin, Port Heiden / Bristol Bay (Drift, Pots, Longline, Seine)
Mili Vukich, Naknek (Drift)
Elsa Sebastian, Sitka (Salmon Troll)
David Fleming, Whittier PWS (Setnet)
Big thanks to our sponsors! Salmon Sisters, Edible Alaska, United Fishermen of Alaska, Marine Fish Conservation Network, United Cook Inlet Drift Association, BulletProof Nets.
Some of the Trip Participants: