Personal glimpses that chronicle the fishing life make up the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Almanac and the call it out for submissions. The second version of the Almanac is in the works – sales of the first run last year were so good, it’s covering costs for the whole project.
“People loved it. They’d ask which submission is yours. And you’d be eternally flipping to the one where you took a picture of the fillets and peanut butter you feed your crew all summer. It was a really fun way to communicate to people outside of this community about the culture of fishing, especially from the perspective of the young fishermen.”
Jamie O’Connor heads the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network for the Alaska Marine Conservation Council which spearheaded the project. Last year’s 141 page Almanac featured nearly 60 items pulled from almost every region of the state.
“Everything from essays to recipes to photos and art – a Homer friend did a recipe swap page that I am taking to camp with me to have in my kitchen for all the things you forget to put in the grub stake you can still work your recipes out. A lot of useful stuff in there. Pro tips, more mature fishermen to people who want to get into the industry.”
The book also has gotten feedback from people unfamiliar with the fishing life.
“It’s been heartwarming. It gave me as a fisherman a chance to share a little bit more with them which was really fun. It was that conversational opening.”
The Almanac is modeled after a publication for farmers that dates back to 1792.
“It’s modeled after the Young Farmer’s Almanac as a way to share the culture and put out a cultural touchstone every year that people can refer back to or share with their families. That’s what we’re hoping to do for young fishermen as well.”
Deadline to submit to the Almanac is September 1 and O’Connor says things are rolling in already.
“So far I’ve gotten really beautiful pieces of art, poetry, essays, we’re looking for anything people want to send in. Recipes, fun stories, a little bit of mischief. We’re hoping people really flex their creativity.”