Patty Mullan, Kodiak crabber Credit:

Patty Mullan, Kodiak crabber

Fish Radio

May 7, 2014

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch — Getting more young folks involved in Alaska’s fisheries. More on a new project after this —

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 As older fishermen retire from the business, fewer young people are recruiting in. The average age of Alaska permit holders is 47 — and there are twice as many permit holders aged 45 to 60 as there are between 30 and 44. The issue – dubbed the Graying of the Fleet – has been discussed for years. Now an ambitious project is underway to find ways to overcome the obstacles facing young recruits. Kelly Harrell is director of Alaska Marine Conservation Council-

  It is getting more and more challenging for young people to enter into our fisheries and once they are there, to make sure their fishing businesses are viable and successful. So AMCC along with the University of Alaska/Fairbanks were successful in getting a proposal funded to study this issue in Bristol Bay and Kodiak regions.That project just getting underway and will go on for several years. We are really going to be diving into some of the factors that allow young people to be successful and what motivates them to stay in the business and what are some of the challenges and solutions to make it easier for young people to live, work and be successful as fishing business owners. 3

 Harrell says the project got started after the annual Young Fishermen’s Summit last December.

 We held a round table with folks who were part of that to let them start sharing ideas, because we don’t want to dictate what the answers are. We want to get some of these young fishing leaders in the room – what their ideas are, where they could use help and provide some resources and capacity to support those needs. I know there is a lot of interest in doing that from different organizations across the state. We are really excited to see what these young folks who have ideas and maybe aren’t so jaded about the challenges and are really motivated to make a difference in their communities and figure out how they can make it work their fishing businesses and stay in their communities. 5

 The graying of the fleet project will include interviews with permit holders, processors and other stakeholders in an attempt to come up recommendations. The project – which is funded by a $335,000 grant from the North Pacific Research Board. will be completed August 2016.

Thanks to the assist from KDLG/Dillingham.

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – serving Alaska’s fishing communities for 104 years. On the web at .. In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.