An ongoing Alaska study slated to be published in mid-2017 will be one of the first to offer potential solutions to the "graying of the fleet" -- the shrinking proportion of young fishermen in the state.  

The aging of the fleet's workforce is seen as an increasingly pressing issue according to researchers behind the project, which is called Alaska's Next Generation of Fishermen. 

"As many Alaska permit holders approach retirement age, the decision of the next generation about fishing will impact coastal communities," the group wrote on its website. 

In 2013, the average age of Alaska fishing permit holders was just under 50 years old, up a decade from the 1980 average. The number of Alaska residents under the age of 40 who hold permits has fallen from 38% in 1980 to 17% in 2013.


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