Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in Wisconsin and came to Alaska a number of times in high school and college for various summer jobs. After graduating from college, I worked in Kodiak for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for a while, but decided to give commercial fishing a try. I was a crewman on several crab boats for a few years, then bought some crab pots, leased a boat and haven’t been able to quit since.
What do you wish the world knew about commercial fishing or seafood in Alaska?
I wish they knew how carefully Alaska’s fisheries are managed, monitored and the rules enforced in order to be environmentally and socially responsible. In short, we have a large fleet of small business operators who support communities throughout coastal Alaska with rules and regulations that ensure sustainable harvests into the foreseeable future. The whole Alaska seafood industry is committed to responsible fishing practices. After all, we have the most to lose if we operate in a way that will compromise the stocks of fish our businesses and communities rely on.
How do you care for, show love and pride for the seafood and for your work?
I feel like it’s team effort. It starts on the boat when the fish come out of the water. The whole crew has to realize that the fish we catch will end up on someone’s plate and it should be as good as the ones we choose to eat ourselves.
What changes would you like to see in the fishing industry in Alaska?
I’d like all the youngsters entering the fishery to take it easy on us old guys so we don’t have to work so hard just to keep up.
How has Alaska’s sustainable fishing management had a positive impact on your life or career?
The state’s constitutional mandate for sustainable management has given me the security needed to justify my long-term time and money investments in the industry. I’ve been able to raise a family through my fishing endeavors, see the amazing productivity of Alaska’s marine waters, and have had the satisfaction of building my own business and getting to see some pretty amazing and spectacular places.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
There are a lot of dedicated people throughout the industry and it takes all of us to get our fish onto someone’s plate. We fishermen typically love the job of catching fish and it is especially satisfying to see that people throughout the supply chain also take pride in getting those fish to the marketplace.