Business of Fishing workshop launched in Kodiak

A team from the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program (MAP) recently led the first Business of Fishing workshop in Kodiak, prior to the island’s annual ComFish trade show. The workshop was led by Kodiak MAP agent Julie Matweyou, with help from Gabe Dunham, Sunny Rice, and Tav Ammu from the Alaska Sea Grant FishBiz team.

man at front of room speaks to people in a classroom about their fishing business
Jesse Sarsfeld, loan officer from AgWest Farm Credit speaks to workshop participants about financial statements. Photo by Tav Ammu/Alaska Sea Grant.

The group developed the new workshop to provide in-depth training on financial planning, taxes, and risk management. Participants received guidance on preparing business plans, overviews on tax expense categories in commercial fishing, and insurance tips to help manage risk on the water. Lending their expertise were regional representatives from fishery-related support industries, including Jesse Sarsfeld with agricultural lending cooperative AgWest Farm Credit, accountant Janiese Stevens of Wallstrum Stevens CPA LLC, and Elisabeth Rise of the insurance program Coastal Marine Fund.

The training was developed in response to feedback received from the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit, a biennial Alaska Sea Grant event that provides business guidance, training in fishery science and management, and mentorship and networking opportunities for young or beginning fishermen across Alaska.

Boats in Kodiak Harbor. Snowy mountains in background.

“Fishing operations have unique business challenges, and many of these are relatively small businesses with tremendous up-front costs for things like a vessel, permits, and insurance,” explained Gabe Dunham, Alaska Sea Grant’s fisheries specialist. “One of the priorities of our Fishbiz program is to make information available and accessible, by bringing needed business resources and training directly to the folks in these fishing communities.”

The next workshop is in development for spring 2024 in Cordova, with plans to offer the workshop in additional Alaska coastal communities in the future.For information about this and other business resources and training for Alaskan commercial fishing business owners throughout the business lifecycle, visit Alaska Sea Grant’s FishBiz program.