The call is out for young Alaska fishermen who want hands on training in management, advocacy, research, marketing, conservation, business and more.
It’s an initiative by the Young Fishing Fellows Program, now in its fourth year, and a project of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. Jamie O’Connor is AMCC working waterfront director.
“There’s a wealth of talented, smart people in our Alaskan community working on fisheries in all kinds of areas, be it science, history, marketing, policy and management. We’ve got the good fortune of being connected to six host organizations this year who have volunteered to host a young fishing fellow.”
This year’s mentor groups include the Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association, Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Homer Charter Association, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, North Pacific Fisheries Association and the Alaska Fishermen’s Network.
The fellowships, which begin in the fall, are open to fishermen 35 and under. They are paid $16 to $26 an hour, depending on experience. O’Connor says the hours are flexible by design.
“We try to be flexible to work around both the host organization and the fisherman’s fishing schedules. So it depends on the project but usually it’s three to five months, depending on the timing of whatever the project is.”
O’Connor, who fishes at Bristol Bay, was part of the first cohort in 2017 and it resulted in her job at AMCC.
“For me, it was really exposure to a community that was working on issues that were important to me, and the ability to marry and bridge my various experiences in policy and PR and a life of fishing into one holistic livelihood where I get to both fish in the summer and support our Alaskan communities and our fishermen in the winter. One of the most beneficial aspects of this fellowship is access to the people who can open those doors and show our young fishermen the work that’s being done on behalf of our oceans and our fishermen and our communities. And then also just the networking available to the other fellows and the network itself, which really gives us a community to work from and the flexibility to still go fishing.”
Deadline to apply is May 4. Find links at www.akyoungfishermen.org/