Fishermen's News - The Advocate for the Commercial Fisherman

By Chris Philips
Managing Editor 

Future Fishermen


Highliner in Training - Sebastian Ole Nelson is starting things off the right way! This 5th generation future fisherman is the youngest of 4 brothers from Juneau Alaska. His dad Nick fishes the F/V Trinity and his grandpa, Norvie, fishes the F/V Star of the Sea. His great grandfather, Ole Nelson, who just celebrated his 90th birthday, still crab fishes in the F/V Christian.

As evidenced by our young friend Sebastian, there continue to be young men and women interested in the commercial fishing industry.

They're targeting the same fish, but they face a much different world from the one their fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers knew. Catch shares, quotas and bycatch regulations sometimes interfere with the methods of the past, and local, federal and even worldwide regulations are constantly being proposed. For example, the United Nations last month announced a far-reaching proposal that could give UN-sponsored authorities control over the biological resources of all the waters that lie outside national territories and economic zones.

The UN resolution could see as much as 30 percent of the world's oceans set aside as marine protected areas and closed to fishing. The US is not currently a signatory to the UN Law of the Sea Treaty, so would not be bound to the resolution unless our leaders decide to sign the treaty. Young fishermen will need to be more politically active than their predecessors in order to retain their right to fish.

Still, the future looks bright for a new generation of fishermen. New technologies and efficiencies promise to smooth the transition to modern fishing techniques.

In this issue we have a story about Jeff Songstad's new state-of-the-art 32-foot aluminum Bristol Bay gillnetter, with eight insulated holds to keep his catch fresh and presentable to discerning seafood buyers.

Our West Coast Ports feature details the millions of dollars fishing ports are spending, from San Diego to Dutch Harbor, to upgrade and modernize their facilities.

Finally, fishermen are going to sea safer than they have ever been before, and their options for marketing and distributing their catch have never been more plentiful.

Young Sebastian Nelson will face as many challenges as his fishing family has for generations, but he will reap the rewards of decades of careful stewardship of the resource, while being healthier, safer and more efficient at the family business.


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