Tapping into more fishermen via texts and social media is the goal of two sweepstakes this summer as a way to keep them informed about salmon habitat issues.

“One of the things we’ve learned is that the majority of fishermen, particularly at this time of year, are getting all of their information basically on their phones. So we’re curious to see how responsive they are and how they feel about being texted with information about salmon habitat.”  

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Lindsey Bloom is the program manager for United Fishermen of Alaska’s Salmon Habitat Information Program, or SHIP.

State policy makers are looking at ways to update habitat protections for the first time since statehood in 1959.

Two sweepstakes aim to build outreach and keep fishermen informed. Fishermen can text “ufaship” to 313131 and UFA will send back four chances to win Alaska Airlines or LFS, Inc. gift cards of up to $200.

A second “Predict the Bay” contest at UFA’s SHIP Facebook page invites guesses of Bristol Bay’s total sockeye catch with similar prizes.

“Highlighting Bristol bay is intentional, as it’s an incredibly prolific fishery that is based on superb quality habitat.”

Bloom says fishermen who opt in will receive monthly SHIP updates.

“The reason we are trying to incentivize participation and sign up for the texting program is to get the numbers up a little higher and then throughout the year see how it goes when we are able to send messages about what might be going on with certain policy things, whether it’s federal level, OA or in state with the BOF or legislature or something else.” 

The sweepstakes also hopes to boost membership to UFA, the nation’s largest fishing trade organization.

“If habitat is as important of an issue as fishermen are telling us it is and if they are willing to put their money where their mouth is a little bit and show that support by signing up through the SHIP program that would be excellent.”

 Learn more at SHIP’s Facebook page and find links at www.alaskafishradio.com