Salmon fishing runs in Melanie Brown’s blood. She is a fourth-generation commercial sockeye salmon fisherman in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.
Melanie spoke to us about sustainable fisheries management, how it helps her support her family and will mean that generations to come can enjoy the bounty of Alaska’s fisheries. And now, with her children getting more involved, the family tradition may well be extending even further.
How did you get started in the fishing and seafood industry?
I got involved in commercial fishing because of my family’s history. My great-grandpa was the first person in my family to participate in the commercial fishery in Bristol Bay. He was indigenous so my family prior to him would have participated as traditional users, gathering what they needed for their winter food supply.
I was ten years old when my mom decided that it was time for me to begin fishing the family’s setnet site on the Naknek River in Bristol Bay.
How has responsible fisheries management had a positive impact on what you do?
Sustainable fisheries management has enabled me to help support my family. It keeps the runs of fish in Bristol Bay strong and healthy. No matter how much the runs might naturally fluctuate, it’s always a positive thing to know that the managers are relying on the best science available to ensure the long-term success of the resource.
What does being a fisherman in Alaska mean to you?
As Alaskans, the fishing industry is part of all of us. It’s in our blood. It’s what our state was founded on. I’m really proud to be a fourth-generation commercial fisherman and I’m happy to see that my children are starting to be involved as well. With sustainable fisheries management, we should expect that many generations to come will enjoy the wealth of our fisheries.
Learn more about the sustainability of Alaska seafood here.