The call is out for young Alaska fishermen who want training in career opportunities in fishery management, advocacy, research, marketing, conservation, business and much more.
The Young Fishing Fellows Program, now in its third year, is an initiative of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. The program this year will include five mentor groups across the state.
“The Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association in Sitka, N. Pacific Fisheries Association out of Homer, Alaska Fishermen’s Network is hosting a fellow of our own this year to help us out with the Young Fishermen’s Almanac.
The native group out of Kodiak, Koniag, is doing a policy fellowship focused on fisheries access. That will be based out of Anchorage or Kodiak. Also the N&N Cannery History Project is hosting a fellow. That will be out of Naknek or Anchorage and they are focusing on the history of canneries in Alaska and the folks who work in them.”
Jamie O’Connor heads AMCC’s Young Fishermen’s Network. She got the job, she says, after taking part in the first Fellows cohort working with the North Pacific Fisheries Association in Homer.
The fellowships, open to fishermen 35 and under, are paid positions and depending on experience, range from $16 to $26 an hour. O’Connor says the programs are very flexible.
“It’s part time and usually ends up being about 10 hours a week for a few months in the winter depending on the fellow and the host organization. There’s a lot of flexibility built in so people can work it around whatever their winter schedule is or other winter jobs that they have and of course, working around fishing seasons.”
Past Fellows have gone to work as legislative aides in Washington, DC and as part of the advisory panel for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. One is a subsistence fishing advocate, another is doing research at the Kachemak Bay National Estuarian Research Preserve on adaptability for commercial fishing businesses in a changing climate.
“One of our mentors likes to say ‘if you’re not at the table you’re on the menu’ and these fellowships really seek people like myself who’ve participate and the rest of the fellows how to be effectively at the table, whether it be regulatory or direct marketing or whatever the young fishermen might need to diversify their business.”
The fellowships will begin this fall and O’Connor says the deadline to apply is drawing close.
“And we are hoping to have enough applications to close on May 26 and get everybody matched before I go fishing.”
Learn more and apply at www.akyoungfishermen.org –