New ocean-related jobs, investments and opportunities will be seeded by an ambitious Blue Pipeline Venture Studio that connects marine business entrepreneurs with the technology, contacts and finances they need to grow.
“The state’s blue economy includes anything that takes place on the water, most prominently the seafood industry, along with marine recreation, maritime research, waterborne transportation and much more,” said Garrett Evridge, a well-known fisheries economist previously with the former McDowell Group and new research director for the Venture Studio.
“There is significant opportunity to grow the Alaskan ocean economy,” he added. “That might come from refinement of existing industries, getting more value out of salmon, for example, or support for new industries like growing seaweeds, or just being prepared for opportunities that aren’t even on the radar. Like what’s going to happen in 10, 20 or 30 years. What can we do now to position ourselves for success? We have a lot of challenges and opportunities that we know are headed our way, like climate change and ocean acidification. What’s our plan for those? It’s part of growing a culture that can embrace change and identify opportunities.”
The “Young Fishermen’s Development Act” was signed into law on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. The goal of the act is to “preserve United States fishing heritage through a national program dedicated to training and assisting the next generation of commercial fishermen.” The bill received bipartisan support and was championed by Reps. Young (AK), Moulton (MA), Golden (ME), Pingree (ME), and Radewagen (AS), and by Sens. Sullivan (AK), Murkowski (AK), Markey (MA), Collins (ME), King (ME), and Cantwell (WA).
The bill addresses challenges faced by new entrants in the fishing industry. Under the new law, competitive grants will support local and regional initiatives supporting fishermen across the nation. Eligible initiatives may include programs, workshops, and services for fishermen on a range of topics, including seamanship, marketing, fisheries management, and more. Implementation is anticipated in 2022 through the National Sea Grant Office.
Washington, DC (KINY) – U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski applauded the Senate’s passage of the Young Fishermen’s Development Act.
The legislation is designed to mitigate the challenges facing the next generation of entrants into the fishing industry by supporting regional training opportunities and apprenticeship programs.
Senator Sullivan said this will help keep Alaska a superpower in seafood, “Alaska is the unquestioned superpower of seafood, thanks to our world-class, sustainably-managed fisheries and our countless hard-working fishermen. The sustainability and endurance of this vital industry, which employs more people in Alaska than any other, depends on up-and-coming qualified fishermen.”
Sullivan said the bill will reduce barriers with new grants, training opportunities and apprenticeship programs.
Senator Lisa Murkowski said the bill will address some of the barriers young people face as they try to join the commercial fishing fleet, “This legislation will support education, training and workplace development of future fishermen and help maintain sustainable fishing careers, strengthen food security, and encourage future generations of Alaskans to pursue jobs in this important industry.”
Rural communities in the U.S. have lost 30 percent of local permit holders in the past decade. The average age of a fishermen has increase by 10 years over the past generation.
The graying of the fleet has led to an increase in financial capital and risk needed to enter into the commercial fishing industry.
In November Trends: With the pandemic, the seafood processing industry faced a summer salmon season like no other. Also in this issue: Fish harvesting employment’s five-year trends, and what the consumer price index shows about deflation in 2020.
Source: Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Alaska Sea Grant welcomed Anne Doyle as their new program administrator, who oversees development, management, analysis, reporting and administration, and is based in Fairbanks. Doyle holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska and an MBA from Ashford University. She has worked at the University of Alaska Fairbanks since 2012, most recently as the business manager for UAF Nanook Recreation.
They also welcomed Lexa Meyer, who is joining Alaska Sea Grant as coordinator for seafood workforce development in Kodiak. Meyer will provide support for the Alaska Seafood School and Alaska Sea Grant’s statewide seafood processing workforce development program. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Alaska Southeast and an art history degree from the University of Washington.