Alaska Sea Grant Survey Looks at ‘Professionalizing’ Industry

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Maggie Wall/KMXT

Fishing has changed and maybe it is time to rethink how fishers are trained. That’s one of the questions that the Alaska Sea Grant College Program hopes to get input on from fishing industry members. The sea grant college is conducting a survey to determine if there is a need for more formal training for Alaska’s fishers.

Glenn Haight is a fisheries business specialist with Sea Grant. He says that on one hand fewer and fewer fishermen learn the skills on the job of their family owned vessel or setnet site.

On the other hand, the work of being a successful fisher requires many new, specific skills-such as using electronics and computers, and negotiating through the legal and regulatory process-that can be taught in a class room.

-((Fishing Survey 1 :35 " The survey is…more formal program."))

Haight says one training option being floated is a certification program specifically designed for the fishing industry. He compares it to what is available for carpenters in the construction industry:

-((Fishing Survey 2 :52 "There’s another tool…put together something."))

The marine advisory website offers additional information on the proposed certification program. As with similar programs, the fishing certificate would require successful completion of a core set of classes specific to fishing, along with electives.

As an example, currently to receive an endorsement for entry level welding, a student must take a minimum of 18 credits. A power technology endorsement with emphasis on marine engine rooms requires a student to take 28 credits.

Haight says he is hoping to hear from as many people in as many areas of the fishing industry as possible who will help define what a "professional fisher" of the future will need to know to be successful:

-((Fishing Survey 3 :43 " If you’re gonna get… as time goes on."))

Fisheries business specialist Glenn Haight.

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