Link to survey 

Giving voice to Alaska’s fishermen during the COVID crisis is the goal of a new survey that targets both challenges and opportunities. Deadline to reply is May 1.The results will be shared with local, state and federal policy makers.

“We think it’s important to hear directly from fishermen, all these small businesses around the state, so we can help put this information together and provide it to lawmakers and decision makers to help them make better and more informed decisions with input from the fleet.”  

Tyson Fick is a Juneau-based fisherman and communications adviser for the group SalmonState, the survey sponsor.

Nearly every Alaska fishing boat is an independently owned, small business. But the boots on deck seldom get asked direct questions by policy makers and most don’t have the backing of lobbyists or spokespersons to speak on their behalf.

The SalmonState survey gathers the unique perspectives of Alaska’s fishermen at a time of great   uncertainty.

“That’s the thing – if you don’t go out and ask in a big way for input, fishermen I’ve found are pretty notoriously tight lipped about where they’re at and what they’re doing. So it would be nice to take this time when it’s important to weigh in and let people know where we’re at and what can help us.”  

Fick says every member of Alaska’s fishing fleets has valuable ideas to offer.

“If we’ve learned anything during this COVID thing, we look at who’s essential and often we’re not talking about a spokesman for any particular group, we’re talking about the people who actually do the work and move the fish and move the boxes around.”  

The short, mostly multiple choice survey asks fishermen their primary business concerns and what strategies they will use  to reduce COVID impacts. Also, how emergency funds can best be applied for Alaska fishermen…and how policy makers from local levels to Congress can help.

“Some of the mitigation efforts, what kinds of things we’re all concerned about and what keeps you up at night. And then what are some of the things you feel can be done at the federal, state and local levels to keep us alive and thriving.”

Fick says there’s also a lot of good ideas out there –

“Maybe there’s great free market opportunities or ways to change how we do things to stay relevant   – maybe it’s just some small policy changes or procedural changes. The order of things…

Fick adds: These aren’t just small business owners and frontline workers but they also are voters and deserve to be heard.”  

Deadline for the Alaska fishermen’s survey is May 1.