The Alaska Young Fishermen’s Almanac is the first book project of the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network with support from the Alaska Marine Conservation Council and the Alaska Humanities Forum. Using her experience gleaned from creating our own New Farmer’s’ Almanac, Severine worked with the Alaskan Young Fisherman on this project and it features art, stories, advice and more from young fishermen across Alaska. Salmon Sisters is excited to offer this first, beautiful edition to our fishing community!
Currently one of the most plentiful fished fish on the East Coast is actually a shark called dogfish, and yet most Americans have hardly even heard of it. So where are the catches going? Turns out, 90% of the fish Americans eat is imported, whereas 99% of dogfish is exported other places.
What is it about the ruthless sea? An acculturation in agricultural landscapes, full of flower buds, dewdrops, fresh hay, kittens and baby lambs cannot prepare you for the hard, chilling mechanics of a mechanized fish harvest. To my tender agrarian eyes, the fishing business is brutal. We may call them “stewards of the ocean” but lets face it—they are killing fish.
-Severine on the Alaskan fishing commons in “A Farm Organizer Visits Fish Country: Part II,” for In These Times. Read the rest of the article here!
“For many terrestrials, and certainly for me, the ocean and fisheries are a foreign place. We cannot see into the sea and don’t know much at all about what goes on there, except perhaps familiarity with the blanket-term “over-fishing.” Young agrarians of the rangeland know well that a blanket critique—that the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service’s policies lead to “over-grazing,” for example—is not enough. Indeed after decades of handing over mining, drilling, grazing and mineral rights on public lands, there’s a flank of the environmental movement calling for privatization of over 400 million acres of public lands. Another flank, the Rainforest Action Network, is calling for a moratorium on the sale of mineral rights on public lands.
We need to look more closely. We need to survey what we already know. And we need to build from there.
This past Fall, Severine travelled to beautiful Alaska and wrote three comprehensive articles based on her experience for In These Times. From Halibut festivals to fish processing boats to the rugged Alaskan homesteaders, she explores three questions fundamental to her journey:
What can the farming community learn from the highly managed, and highly abundant commons of Alaska? Are these lessons applicable to land?
What do young agrarians have to learn from the governance and politics of a wild fishery?
What does a wild fishery have to learn from the cultural activities of agrarian organizers?
Decades of experience have proved that Sacramento Valley rice farmers can use their fields to grow healthy ducks. Now, research under way in the Yolo Bypass aims to find out if they can grow salmon, too.