Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Documentary to Focus on Small Boat Fishery Families

Obstacles facing small boat fishery families who want to preserve their way of life for future generations will be the focus of an upcoming documentary from the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association in Sitka.

“The goal is to portray small boat family fisheries, to document the commitment of these families to sustainable fisheries and ocean health, and to introduce viewers to the many challenges young fishermen face,” says Linda Behnken, a veteran longline harvester and executive director of ALFA.

ALFA had secured some funding to get started with filming for “We Are All Fishermen,” then learned in January that they had been awarded a grant from the popular clothing company Patagonia to complete the project.

“Access is a big challenge, as are regulations that marginalize small boat operations, climate change and more,” Behnken said, a commissioner on the International Pacific Halibut Commission, and a former member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

“Fishing families have a long term commitment to sustainable fisheries,” said Behnken. "They provide a vital voice for ocean health and strong coastal economies. This film will celebrate that legacy, while capturing the many challenges young fishermen face as they enter today’s fisheries.”

The film will highlight the importance of small scale fisheries in ensuring health coastal communities, and, in turn, the role that thriving community based fisheries play in ensuring a viable, sustainably caught food source for the rest of the world.

ALFA is an alliance of small boat commercial fishermen that supports sustainable fisheries and coastal communities by involving harvesters in research, advocacy and conservation initiatives.

The film is being produced by award-winning filmmaker Emmett Williams, of Mission Man Media, a documentary film production company dedicated to helping organizations around the world tell their story. Williams spent a week last spring filming Juneau-based longline and Dungeness crab harvester Peter Ord, his daughter Annika and his son, Nathan, after ALFA launched the project.

Alyssa Russell, communications and outreach coordinator for ALFA, said they hope to complete the documentary by the fall of 2017, get it aired on public television stations and at film festivals and also use it as an advocacy tool for harvesters.

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