Across every industry, the demand for visionary leaders is evident. These individuals need to possess the capacity to continuously make lasting contribution to their field, while also facilitating the growth and empowerment of the next generation. National Fisherman Highliners represent the very essence of this type of leadership for the U.S. commercial fishing community, but they do so in a way that is connected to a larger legacy.

As the list of previous winners shows, a Highliner is someone who possesses an unparalleled expertise in the art and science of commercial fishing. They are the individuals who have honed their craft over the years, mastering the nuances of the trade, and consistently delivering impressive catches. Whether on a local, national, or even global scale, a Highliner works tirelessly to ensure that the industry remains viable for generations to come. They mentor the next generation of fishermen, advocate for policies that protect marine resources, and actively engage in conservation efforts.

The importance of mentors in this industry cannot be stressed enough as many experienced commercial fishermen approach retirement, there arises a potential crisis within the industry. This focus is connected to a deep respect for the delicate balance of marine ecosystems and a commitment to sustainable practices. Highliners are leaders who recognize the interconnectedness of the fishing industry with the communities it sustains.

This is where you can see the legacy that National Fisherman Highliners personify. They represent a bridge between generations, possessing a wealth of knowledge and experience that they willingly share with the next wave of fishermen. These Highliners serve as mentors, passing down the wisdom of sustainable practices, efficient techniques, and an intimate understanding of the ocean's rhythms.

They epitomize the heart and soul of the commercial fishing industry, serving as a testament to what can be achieved when dedication, expertise, and profound affection for the ocean converge to foster positive transformation.

This fall, at the Pacific Marine Expo, celebrate the 2023 Highliners and what they represent to this larger legacy. A brief look at their accomplishments is below, with plenty more to say and share when we raise a toast as tribute to their exceptional work:

Curt Brown - a lifelong Mainer, commercial lobsterman, marine biologist for Ready Seafood, and Chairman of the Alliance for Maine's Marine Economy.

Matt Alward - a skilled captain and proprietor of Alward Fisheries and Just Knots LLC.

Maggie Raymond - a stalwart member of the New England fishing community for over 27 years, specializing in groundfish fishing.

MJ Jackson - a career commercial fisherman since 1979, continuing to fish Bristol Bay for salmon, groundfish, and crab.

Jimmy Hull – beginning his commercial fishing career at the tender age of 20, now an esteemed member and chair of the Snapper/Grouper Advisory Panel, as well as the NOAA Highly Migratory Species Panel.

Join us on November 8ththe entire industry will come together to honor the remarkable achievements of these Highliners throughout their careers while also celebrating the legacy that they represent to the present and future of the entire industry. 


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