Mug Updates tell Alaska fishermen how to navigate the strict COVID-19 mandates in place for salmon season. The updates are provided by the Alaska Fishermen’s Network.
“Their purpose is to help you dip your toe in and get started and kind of give you a road map for some information to prepare for this upcoming salmon season and some information you might need for fisheries that are currently ongoing.”
Jamie O’Connor is director of the Alaska Fishermen’s Network and a Bristol Bay fishermen.
“I really try to focus on things that are going to be relevant a week from now, which is a challenge as we all know, in this environment and climate with things changing so quickly, but I try to use what I know and the contacts that I have to really boil that down and see what people can use and what will still be useful a couple weeks from now.”
COVID puts the kibosh on parties in the boatyard, the Mug Updates say, and include simple suggestions like using paper dishware and changing up your galley game with gloves and masks for making meals.
“Yeah, basics of sanitation or hygiene are huge. And I think when people are putting together their grubstake whether they’re putting their barge order in for their summer in the community or they’re going to go fishing, it’s important that they flag some of these little things to put in their shopping cart and it can make a world of difference.”
O’Connor says salmon setnetters are awaiting the new rules they’ll have to follow –
“Setnetters, their operations are different, they are shore based, many live in camps or cabins on the shore and their interaction is slightly different than the drift based fleet. So those things are being taken into account.”
From what she’s hearing fishermen are committed to doing things as safely as possible.
“And I’m also hearing a real concern for our supply chain and people are very aware of the important role we play as food producers.”
The Mug Updates tell it straight about salmon fishing during the COVID pandemic: Play by the rules or everyone gets sent home. Alaska’s salmon season officially gets underway on May 14 at Copper River.