By: Hannah Heimbuch, Community Fisheries Organizer
After participating in another fantastic Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit — hosted in the state capitol by Alaska Sea Grant — AMCC took the opportunity to pull together some of those creative minds for a new event in Juneau.
Authors Miranda Weiss and Tele Aadsen teamed up with AMCC after the summit to lead a fantastic storytelling workshop, geared toward inspiring young fishermen to be effective spokespeople for their fisheries and unique ways of life. Participants hailed from ports that spanned southeast Alaska to Bristol Bay, and shared stories that took places ranging from wooden seiners, Gulf longliners, family troll vessels and setnet skiffs that have survived generations.
Not only did the group share some of their fishing stories, they also discussed why it is so important that we take the time to elevate those stories in public discourse. As we grow into our fisheries, investing our futures and families into them, we also become the messengers for the way of life, the industries and the issues that we are immersed in. What we explored together, on that Saturday morning in Juneau, was that those voices, those natural spokespeople, are found in our everyday experiences — connections to people, place and work that illustrate the value of our fisheries and coastal communities.
We saw clearly what we already knew, what we strive to share with others: that our individual voices from our separate corners of a massive coastline, add up to a powerful mosaic that is greater than the sum of its parts.. This workshop was one among many steps toward weaving these stories into the broader conversation about the future of our fisheries. It was also an important step toward developing the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network, an effort that seeks to connect and empower the next generation of Alaskan fishermen. As this Network gains momentum, it our hope to continue to find opportunities for young fishermen to gain skills and experiences that prepare them to be leaders in Alaska fisheries.