Commercial fishing feeds our family, gives us pride in our work, enables us to raise our children with a strong work ethic, and helps us lead a lifestyle we love.Salmon and halibut fishing here in Bristol Bay is how Bronson and I’s love story began and with the turn of every season I grow more thankful for the love and life we have that is fueled, in part, by salmon. This summer the Nushagak District of Bristol Bay, where we mainly fish, had a record year with over 19 million sockeye returning to this district alone. Bay wide the return was well over 50 million sockeye. Nets broke from enormous catches, boats swamped, prices were good, and the air felt electric from June through August.
Bronwyn at 5 this summer spent her first week alone with Papa and our crewman Graham on the deck of F/V Sea Breeze commercial fishing for Coho (silver) salmon. Late season after the insane sockeye runs we turn to fall fishing targeting silvers and pinks, wrapping up our season with family fishing. Ethan spent his 5th summer on deck for part of the season and for the second year in a row we took his good friend Kiley out to get her taste of commercial fishing.
The joy that comes from bringing salmon over the reel is indescribable, the work is back-breaking at times and joyful at once. I wish I had more photos to share at this moment but rural Alaska internet is impeding me this afternoon… So get to know your fishermen, share the joy of seafood, eat local, and celebrate the first annual Commercial Fishing Day!
Thanks Governor Walker for recognizing the captains, crew, processors, shore support services, fisheries managers, and scientists that make up an integral part of not only Alaska’s economy but it’s identity!
ALASKA SEAFOOD MONTH – COMMERCIAL FISHING DAY
WHEREAS, Alaska is blessed with an abundance of natural resources from which our economy benefits significantly; and
WHEREAS, Alaska’s fisheries are an integral sector of Alaska’s economy and have always been an invaluable part of the Alaskan way of life; and
WHEREAS, Alaska’s commercial fisheries employed an average of 56,800 workers in 2015-2016, the most of any private industry; and
WHEREAS, Alaska’s commercial fisheries contribute an average of $5.2 billion in economic output to the state’s economy annually; and
WHEREAS, Alaska’s commercial fisheries yielded a harvest of 5.6 billion pounds of seafood in 2016, more than all other Unites States combined; and
WHEREAS, Alaska exports more than one million metric tons of seafood each year, bringing over $3 billion of new money into the U.S. economy, and is the state’s top foreign export; and
WHEREAS, Alaska’s world class commercial fisheries have produced over 169 billion pounds since statehood in 1959, and an estimated $170 billion in cumulative first wholesale value; and
WHEREAS, the economic and cultural value of Alaska’s fisheries cannot be overstated.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Bill Walker, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim October 2017 as: Alaska Seafood Month
And October 25th as: Commercial Fishing Day in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to take this opportunity to celebrate the incredible value of our fisheries, and the impact they have on the Alaskan way of life.