We're sharing the love of Alaska fishing stories past and present in both our July issue and in our annual Pilothouse Guide supplement that accompanies it in Alaska and on the West Coast.
Commercial fishermen may be the ultimate example of people who do what they love for a living. In the Northern Lights column in the July issue, Erin Harrington, the executive director of the Anchorage-based Salmon Project, explores why Alaska's salmon fishermen love what they do so much.
After reading her column, I'm not even sure "love" is a strong enough word to describe the connection Alaskans have with salmon. "Every Alaskan has a story about samon," writes Harrington, who has fished in the Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands and the Bering Sea for 25 years.
"We have grown up at fish camps on the Kuskokwim River, fed it as the first food to our babies, ground out seasons on the back deck of seiners to pay for college, realized (much to the chagrin of our parents) that fishing was our calling, engineering degree be damned," she writes.
Harrington knows plenty of Alaskans feel that way. Public opinion research conducted last year on the Salmon Project's behalf shows that 76 percent of Alaskans view their connection to wild salmon as very important.
In fact, regardless of their political beliefs or where they live, Alaskans are "attached to the resource for nutritional, cultural, recreational, environmental, symbolic and economic reasons," Harrington says.
Because of that deep connection with salmon, the organization wants to share those salmon stories (and poems, photos and videos) with other Alaskans. If you'd like to contribute to the Salmon Project's story sharing campaign, visit www.salmonproject.org. Just follow the links to the story sharing campaign.
We're sharing stories of Alaska fishing in our annual Pilothouse Guide. We bring back for a curtain call feature stories that ran in the pages of Alaska Fisherman's Journal. These wonderful stories from back in the day capture the flavor of the times and of the people who have worked in Alaska's famed fisheries.
As usual, we also provide listings of the region's fishermen's organizations and of port services for 85 ports along the West Coast, Alaska and British Columbia. Plus we've added a few pages of news stories, industry happenings and an events calendar.
But you don't have to be an Alaska or West Coast fisherman to enjoy the stories. To see our Pilothouse Guide for yourself, click here to obtain a PDF version.
Of course Alaskan fishermen aren't the only ones with stories to tell. We know fishermen all over the country have deep and abiding connections to fishing, regardless of the species they target.
What is clear to me is that fishermen truly love what they do, maybe more so than folks in any other profession I've ever come across. National Fisherman has always been committed to sharing U.S. fishermen's stories. I guess we're doing what we love, too.
Top photo: Erin Harrington, the executive director of the Salmon Project, like many Alaskans, has a deep connection with salmon. Salmon Project photo