Fishermen from around the state gathered online last week for the ninth Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit (AYFS). The goal of AYFS is to educate new commercial fishermen in the business, financial, and regulatory aspects of running a sustainable commercial fishing operation.
Usually held in person, the summit was offered online during the evenings and condensed into four 2-hour sessions to accommodate Covid-related health and safety concerns. Participants reported that the summit was very useful and they learned a lot. One participant said, “As someone who is a first-generation commercial fisherman, the thought of buying into a fishery is completely overwhelming. This well-put-together [summit] provided so much necessary information and contacts. It was very helpful. I’m thankful I signed up!”
Topics this year included loans and insurance, how to participate in the commercial fisheries regulatory process, and sustainable fishing. Each evening began with time for networking, and included short safety sessions, such as how to make a proper Mayday call and the selection and use of personal flotation devices.
Speakers included seasoned fishermen and insurance, accounting and banking professionals, who provided practical information and answered questions about running a commercial fishing business in an increasingly challenging and competitive environment.
Senator Lisa Murkowski provided a welcome address by video, and Theresa Peterson, fisherman and fisheries policy director for the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, provided the keynote address. Teresa’s talk was the subject of a Cordova Times article “Veteran harvester speaks on the joys, challenges of fisheries.”
Alaska Sea Grant thanks all the AYFS contributors and sponsors, led by Northwest Farm Credit Services, Sitka Salmon Shares, and CoBank.