The 2016 Young Fishermen's Summit. Samuel Hill photo.Fishermen are a hardworking bunch of people, there’s no question about that. Last week, I had the opportunity to see that work ethic first-hand. But I wasn’t on a fishing boat. I was at the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit in Juneau, Alaska.

This conference is put on by the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program and is meant to serve as a comprehensive education program for young fishermen looking to break into the industry or expand their existing operation.

More than 70 fishermen from 30 communities throughout Alaska and the Pacific Northwest gathered to share their expertise and experiences. This next generation of Alaska’s commercial fishing industry discussed and learned about Alaska’s role in the U.S. and world market, the management of state and federal fisheries by the government, insurance, debt management and a slew of other must-know topics.

The attendees listened to speakers from prominent organizations and spent the week growing their network across the state. These fishermen might be experts at catching fish in their own fishery, but there’s a lot more to running a boat.

While most of the fishermen in attendance were Alaskans, they were from different walks of life. Some were looking for info on how to lease or buy a permit, while others had just purchased their first vessel. Some sought help working on processor relations and others were looking to market directly to consumers in their area and abroad.

The knowledge these young fishermen had about their fisheries and their dedication and passion for the business were inspiring.

The summit was an intense three days and much too complex to sum up here, so look for my feature on the summit in the next issue of National Fisherman!

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