Young fishermen working on almanac

Jul 17, 2016

Got a favorite boat recipe? Great diagram of a knot? The Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network is looking for submissions to include in a new young fishermen’s almanac.

Being a greenhorn in Alaska’s fisheries can be tough. A project orchestrated by the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network and funded by the Alaska Humanities Forum seeks to help newcomers enter the fishery, and celebrate the sea-faring life. 

Organizer Rachel Donkersloot, from the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, said the group is looking for writing and art of all sorts for the book project - from knot diagrams and advice for greenhorns to poetry and prose – all the elements of what it means to be a young fisherman in Alaska today.

“We want everything from haikus to how tos to how not tos,” she said. “We’re looking for short stories and essays and poems. Jokes, memes. We really want this to be a practical resource, but also kind of this eclectic catalogue of human environment connections, and curiosities that are so central to the fishing way of life. And we were thinking letters to loved ones from the water, good go-to boat recipes, species identification, illustration, your best version of a fisheries management flow chart, your best or your worst day or catch or captain ever.”

In other words – there’s finally a place for midnight boat musings and the crazy ideas that come from sleep deprivation and soaking in the natural world.

The project was dreamed up by the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network, a part of AMCC, but it’s receiving funding from the Alaska Humanities Forum. The group was inspired in part by young farmer’s groups in the Lower 48 that put together young farmer’s almanacs.

“We got a look at that and we thought, I think we need one of those up here,” she said.

Donkersloot said young fishermen are often underrepresented in Alaska fisheries conversations, and the project should also help address that.

“I think by drawing out the voice of young fishermen in particular,  we’re not only going to see their unique perspectives and experiences but I think what we’re also going to capture is how our fisheries are really multi-generational, and that’s a really cool thing to be a part of.”

The first round of submissions will go through the summer, and then there’ll likely be another chance to contribute this fall. Eventually, a steering committee will help sort through them.

“A lot of fishermen are very creative,” she said. “We’ve got a very creative group to pull together to bring this into being. So I’m very excited.”

Details about word limits and art submission quality are available on the project’s website, as are more ideas for submissions. There’s also room for more folks to get involved in putting the book together.

The almanac is due out at the end of 2017.

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