As the once-a-year industry event that brings together commercial fishermen and mariners from across the Pacific Northwest, Pacific Marine Expo is a place for people to learn, connect and do business. A panel of National Fisherman writers and contributors came together to showcase what it means to do all of these things in an especially profound manner.
Featuring Kirk Moore, Bri Dwyer, Megan Waldrep, and Jerry Fraser, the “Peek into the Wheelhouse” session detailed the biggest challenges and changes that NF writers and contributors have seen as part of their coverage. Participants discovered what’s in store for the magazine and website in 2023 but were also able to provide feedback on how those stories should be shaped.
Kirk Moore is the associate editor for NF and his news coverage sees him detail everything from developments with offshore wind to shrimpers' efforts to fight imports to Alaska shutting down the crab season. He mentioned some of the nuances that have shaped these stories as well as the technologies that are further impacting the industry which were on display across the floor of PME.
“The technology here shows you how fast some of these things are changing,” Moore mentioned.
One of the bigger talking points in the session surrounded what it means to better highlight the people whose work defines the industry, which is something Megan Waldrep has done and will be doing in a much bigger way in 2023. She’s talking with people whose lives have been defined by fishing, helping to illustrate what’s at stake when regulations or new developments negatively impact fishing areas. These showcases are also an essential means of bringing new people into the industry.
“We have to tell these stories because they’re so important to the present and future of commercial fishing across the country,” Waldrep said.
Bri Dwyer’s Commercial Fishing Photo stories have provided readers with an incredible look at the environments and ecosystems that define the fishing industry. She mentioned that Dutch Harbor is a destination like no other and how difficult it can be when commercial fishing interests are positioned on the other side of what are being presented as eco-friendly developments and regulations.
“The fishing industry is often being portrayed as anti-environmental, and that’s just not the reality,” Dwyer said. “We need to change the narrative.”
Former National Fisherman publisher Jerry Fraser continues to cover major developments in the industry, recently highlighting protesting lobstermen and delivering an epitaph for a fishing boat. He echoed the essential nature of the commercial fishing industry to the past and future of the entire country, especially when it comes to bringing new people into it. He also talked through some of the biggest changes he’s seen in the space of late.
“The international challenges with illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing have come on in a big way,” Fraser said. “It’s nothing like we were seeing even a few years ago and isn’t going to be solved by any single rule or country.”
After talking through a handful of questions and discussion points, the panel opened things up to the audience to hear feedback around what it means to more essentially showcase the people and perspectives that make up the industry. It’s an effort that the entire National Fisherman team wants to support.