Story last updated at 11/20/2013 - 5:15 pm
Tracey Nuzzi's dad was purse seining for the regional salmon hatcheries in Cordova in 2008 when he suggested she visit for the shorebird festival. Upon Nuzzi's arrival, her dad threw a welder in her hands to help build a boat. She never saw the birds.
Nuzzi decided to stay in Cordova, where she got a job on a local fishing boat. Two years ago, she and her brother bought their own boat and a gillnet fishing permit.
"I fell in love with working and living on boats," she said. "But there are responsibilities, too."
Nuzzi signed up for the Alaska Young Fishermen's Summit in 2012 to better understand what the commercial fishing life entails. Organized by the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, the summit brings together young commercial fishermen to learn about fishing business and fisheries management from experts.
More than 200 fishermen have participated in the four summits since 2007. This year's summit will be held in Anchorage, Dec. 10-12. Participants will receive training on the shore-based aspects of running a fishing operation, the fisheries regulatory process and how science affects fisheries management. Nov. 26 is the deadline for early registration. Learn more and see the full agenda at marineadvisory.org/ayfs.
"AYFS has drawn participants from 45 different Alaska ports and communities, reflecting the importance and variety of fisheries in the state. What seems to meld this group together is their passion for the fishing lifestyle, their communities, and the health and protection of the resources," said Torie Baker, summit co-coordinator and MAP agent based in Cordova.
Established fishermen and industry professionals provide most of the instruction at the summit, added Petersburg MAP agent Sunny Rice. "Participants get to network with each other as well as with seasoned pros."
The Alaska Young Fishermen's Summit is sponsored by the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program with support from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, Princess Cruises/Holland America, North Pacific Research Board, Northrim Bank, Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, International Halibut Commission, Pacific Star Seafoods and Groundfish Forum.
Alaska Sea Grant is a statewide marine research, education, and outreach program, and is a partnership between the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration.