Laine Welch of Kodiak, producer of Alaska Fish Radio programs for 33 years, says so long!
After 33 years, Alaska Fish Radio is signing off and Friday is the last program. It’s a tough decision but it’s time for me to retire from daily deadlines.
Looking back, it’s clear that Alaska has made huge inroads in marketing its seafood to more places and in more valuable forms. But over three decades, much has remained the same.
My wish for Alaska is to find ways for more of its seafood and revenues to remain in Alaska instead of most of it going elsewhere. Likewise, to see more salmon permits and other permits be in the hands of Alaskans and local communities.
My wish is to see more of every fish fully utilized – the skins, heads, organs, crab shells, and undervalued species like male herring could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars more to Alaska’s seafood industry each year.
For example, the US Defense Department has given three big grants to Iceland to create bandages from intact cod skins that are packed with collagen and omega 3s — it’s just one example of a missed opportunity for Alaska.
And I believe Alaska is getting left behind in terms of creating intellectual properties stemming from patents and robotics, advanced analytics, decarbonized vessels and other technological advances as other states and nations are doing.
I’ll continue my weekly column that appears in papers around the state and nationally, and I plan to launch a newsy Alaska Fish Watch blog. So please look for me as I’ll still be in the fish mix, just not on daily radio.
Thanks to all of the 30 stations that have run Fish Radio to decades of sponsor support and to all the fish news listeners. Seafood and the blue economy will always be Alaska’s most sustainable legacy.
And always remember that each one of those local fishing vessels you see out on the water or drive by each day is an independent small business that supports Alaska families.