National Fisherman's Melissa Wood shares her stories as a writer and editor covering the U.S. fishing industry.
Thursday, 03 January 2013
When young fishermen came together for their second official pub crawl, having a good time wasn't the only thing on their minds.
The event, which took place in Ballard, Wash., on Nov. 29, started off with a round of drinks from Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay, a group of fishermen concerned about protecting the watershed — an important salmon habitat — from the enormous proposed Pebble Mine.
(Did you go to the Young Fishermen's Pub Crawl? Look below for more photos from the event.)
"A plentiful, healthy sockeye salmon run is the single most important thing we can fight for. Not my boat. Not my job. But the fish. If the fish do not come back, then everything else is frivolous," writes Brett Veerhusen, who hosted the event and wrote about it in the Dock Talk column of National Fisherman's February issue ["Pint-sized power," p. 8].
"And it doesn't take an engineer to know that digging the largest open-pit mine in North America and plunking down up to 10 billion tons of mine waste forever in the heart of the watershed isn't good for the fish," he adds.
Veerhusen is one of those young fishermen. He takes his boat, the Finnegan, to Bristol Bay every summer. He is also earning his masters in marine affairs at the University of Washington and is co-founder of the blog, the Real Alaska.
I believe it's important for National Fisherman to include the voices of young fishermen like Veerhusen. They represent the future of the industry, but the high costs of getting started can be prohibitive to those starting out.
As I've reported before, the average age of permit holders in Alaska is rising. In 1975 it was 42.7. It was almost 50 in 2011 according to the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission. The average age of new permit holders rose from 33.1 in 1975 to 40.7 in 2011.
There's strength in numbers and as Veerhusen writes, the pub crawl is one way to bring young fishermen together. More than 70 people joined the crawl, tripling the number of attendees from last year.
"The pub crawl signifies how the younger generation wants to connect with and learn from each other. And we want to grow within the industry and deepen our investment and involvement with our fisheries," he writes.
Read Veerhusen's full article in our February issue.
Callifornia crabbing: Here's a fun video shot on the decks of the Majestik while catching Dungeness crab off the coast of northern California.
Alaska fisherman and commercial fisheries activist Kevin Adams was elected chairman at the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute board of directors meeting on May 9 in Anchorage.
The governor-appointed board consists of seven members: five seafood processors and two industry representatives actively engaged in commercial fishing. Adams was appointed to fill a harvester seat by Gov. Frank Murkowski in 2004.
With 38 years of fishing experience in Bristol Bay, Adams has long been an active member in the Alaska fishing industry, ASMI says. He has worked for both the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation and the Bering Sea Fisherman's Association, and represents Alaska fishermen on numerous boards.
The Northeast Regional Planning Body, a group of state, tribal and federal representatives from New England who are working to implement the National Ocean Policy and address critical New England ocean issues, is holding a series of public meetings in May and June.
The meetings are being held to discuss draft regional ocean planning goals and associated potential actions. The planning body seeks input on these goals and actions. Additional information on the group's progress can be found here.
The meetings will also provide an opportunity to review draft maps and products from initial efforts to gather information on the natural resources and diverse uses of the ocean, including fishing, transportation, energy and infrastructure, aquaculture, and recreation.