Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Another season is upon us!!

So guys. This is the time of year when the real fishermen come out. Certainly the real, real, yearround fisherman is about halfway or better through his season.

But if you'll notice with normal folks is that they just keep going on right along 24-7, when they are of the completely landlocked breed. I have cousins whom I won't mention here, but were unable to become fishermen due to inner ear stability and whatnot so they were forced to become "processors". Probably worked out fine for them and would have either way.

The absence factor reminds me of Johnny Rice, the founder of the, when it was something to behold. Every several months in the spring and summer there would be prolonged absences while Johnny went out and caught black cod, halibut or salmon- as well as spotting salmon- for Russell. Then the would go on autopilot until Johnny returned.

Johnny did a great service to the industry by starting up that site, but unfortunately, as with all businesses and such,changing ownership changes the integrity and insightfulness along with it.

People, whether you are on the internet or not, beware of folks who give advice who aren't commercial fishermen themselves and who don't currently live in Alaska. And I don't mean a professional journalist like Wesley Loy, Laine Welch or Joel Gay. These folks are real writers.

I've fished commercially, albeit just summers and falls, for 30 years. I'm hardly qualified to really know and understand just what I'm supporting here in Alaska in the way of planning for future generations of coastal Alaskan fishermen so that my 5th generation Alaskan fishermen sons will have a vibrant industry to pass along to another 5 generations of Alaskans.

But I'm trying my darnedest.
And the important thing to remember is that unlike many folks who blog , I don't speak for myself. At times I speak as a volunteer rep. for UFA, and I also speak for SEAS In fact, if the SEAS board deems this to be too personal they can command me to yank this from the site on the spot.

SEAS has been around since 1968.
For reference, UFA was founded in 1974.

We represent commercial fishermen, through and through.
We have a 13 member board of directors, 3/4 of whom live in Sitka, Petersburg and Ketchikan.
Like UFA we run primarily on dues and each year over $100,000 is collected from commercial fishermen and support business members-- over 200 including crew and business members in 2005. In fact, dues right now for active fishermen are $750. This isn't just a sewing club here.

So we really speak for something, as UFA does statewide.

This isn't just some half-cocked, never been involved in a commercial fishing career( aside from processing-- oh, I guess one of these fisheries "writers" fished as well as owned a processor), news junkie from Oregon or Washington state.

When you hear from SEAS what you hear is the collective voice of commercial fishermen who have paid their way with their dues and their feet and seats and are here for the long term.

And it's not about bobbyt, kate troll, kris noroscz, bruce wallace, john peckham, cliff skillings or david bedford or the continuing line of SEAS ED's that willl come after me.

SEAS is about generation upon generation of commercial fishermen achieving their economic, social and community goals of continued reliance upon the salmon and seafood resources of the state of Alaska. We don't take time, aside from a pause once every few years, to respond to critics outside of our organization. The several hundred fishermen and support businesses who are our members will serve our guidance structure just fine thank you.

Year after next, we'll celebrate 40 years as an organization of commercial fishermen doing good things for commercial fishing communities and fishermen in Alaska. 2 years ago UFA celebrated 30 years as an association.

In any event have a safe and prosperous season.

Since, like Johnny, I am a commercial fisherman, I will be out of the office most of the summer so these blogs will be sporadic. Just remember, don't believe anything you read unless you read it on here.

Best Fishes


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