By Rachel Donkersloot, Working Waterfronts Program Director
Amidst the community festivals that AMCC attends throughout Alaska, I spent a week in St. John’s, Newfoundland where I presented on AMCC’s work at the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) Conference. Newfoundland captured a piece of my heart early on in life through books like The Shipping News, Mark Kurlansky’s Cod, and Lament for the Ocean. I presented two papers at the conference based on collaborative work I’m engaged in with Dr. Courtney Carothers of UAF and other members of the Graying of the Fleet project team. One of the big messages I wanted to bring to IMCC from Alaska was the need to understand fisheries as complex socio-ecological systems, and to recognize community dimensions as fundamental to the sustainability of healthy fishery systems.
In our paper on reconstructing stewardship, Courtney and I cha
Newfoundland did not disappoint. I made it to Flatrock via Middle Cove. I hiked parts of the East Coast Trail and drank beer in the fishing village of Quidi Vidi. Every evening I walked along some rocky trail of the coastline from vista to vista, all with fellow Alaskan, Willow Moore, who was there to present on the great work being done by Alaska Longline Fisherman’s Association. I met many men who used to be fishermen. People there still talk about what it was like before the cod crisis. In Alaska, we sometimes refer to fall as the start of ‘meeting season.’ As advocates, researchers, fishing organizations and fishery managers it’s a great time of year to reassess where we’re at and where we strive to be in managing fisheries and maintaining community access. Onward.