The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association will run a national vaccination promotion campaign this fall with the aim of encouraging commercial fishermen to get vaccinated against covid-19.

The “Catch Fish. Not Covid.” campaign will provide commercial fishermen with accurate, science-based information about vaccine safety and covid-19 risks, while emphasizing the benefits of vaccination for commercial fishing vessel operators and their crews.

2015 1118 JerryDzugan“As a commercial fisherman recently told us, when you’re a fisherman, you are the business,” said AMSEA Executive Director Jerry Dzugan. “Covid-19 can sicken a crew for weeks and lead to long-term health problems, limiting their ability to fish. It’s critical that fishermen get vaccinated in order to safeguard their livelihoods.”

The campaign’s website — www.fishnotcovid.com — serves as an information portal as well as a Vaccine Finder, a tool developed by the CDC that points fishermen to nearby vaccination sites across the country. The campaign will also reach out to fishermen through contact with fishing organizations and through various social media platforms.

Last year, proper protocols for Alaska’s transient fishing and seafood industry workforce included isolation and testing both before and after travel to the state, work pods to limit and track exposure, protective equipment, and proper sanitation. This year, a push for vaccinations has changed a constantly moving landscape yet again. Dzugan says AMSEA is devoted to fishermen’s safety, from training to vaccines. The mission is strength and survival.

“AMSEA has been focused on helping commercial fishermen with marine safety training for the past 36 years,” said Dzugan. “Helping them to avoid serious illness or death from covid-19 doesn’t feel like a stretch.”

AMSEA’s “Catch Fish. Not Covid.” campaign is supported by funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health.

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 16 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute's Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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