National Fisherman


About a month ago a friend of my neighbor's stopped by (we share a backyard) and somehow we started talking about the Appalachian Trail. Chris had hiked it a couple years ago, and said it was a life changing experience.

The more he talked, the more I believed it. For a while after that conversation, I was tempted to drop everything and do it too. It was early summer in Maine. It was the right time of year to start on Mt. Katahdin and make it down to the Georgia woods in five or six months before winter really set in.

For now, I'm still here. The dream of escaping into the wilderness is alive but dormant — put aside by the distractions of everyday life. It was sparked again today, however, after I watched the video, "I am a Commercial Fisherman." It's part of the Indie Alaska series produced by Alaska Public Media with PBS Digital Studios.

Originally from suburban Connecticut, Toby Sullivan setnets for salmon with his partner, Katie Oliver, from Uganik Bay on Kodiak. The clichés in the story of his journey west — riding boxcars with a copy of Jack Kerouac's On The Road — make it no less inspiring.

"I remember thinking this is the life. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," says Sullivan.

He's been fishing from Uganick for 31 summers, and in the video you not only see the stunning scenery but also feel the tranquility of this wild place. Watching Sullivan and Oliver poking around the bay on their skiff in the middle of alll that, it's hard not to want to join them.

 

Dropping everything isn't always feasible, but it can be possible. I'm still thinking about hiking the AT; for now it's a maybe. Life changing experiences don't happen every day — unless you fish in Alaska.

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

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Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

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