Getting SMALL Right
Doing What We Love Part III:
"When I departed my home fishing community to come to graduate school in Canada, I received words of desperation. My captain started calling me, “the policy-maker.” I only hope to contribute to a conversation that is far larger and to which many scholars, communities and fishing people have dedicated their lives. I feel I can do more here at school than from the stern of the lobster boat. I am a scientist now, and I’m still learning what that means. But I will always carry the perspective of a fishing person inside of me."
Lil reflects on her path to becoming an inshore fisheries researcher and discusses power inequities in small-scale fisheries in the final story in a three-part series titled: Doing What We Love: Stories from an all-Female Gillnetter in Bristol Bay, Alaska.
Doing What We Love Part I: The Day the Fish Came
"I am a deckhand on an all-women gillnetter in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Working on an all-women boat in the commercial fishing industry in North America is a rare opportunity. While a large number of women are involved in the sockeye salmon drift gillnet fishery, only a few own and operate their own vessels (around 3%). After commercial fishing for six years for and around largely males in Maine and Alaska, being on an all-women boat was incredibly profound for me in ways that I least expected."
Doing What We Love Part II: Unexpected Community
"Communities come in many forms and are constantly adapting. Some communities take hundreds of years to build, others just one moment. We return to fish year after year, not because it makes life easier, or because we are there to become rich, or famous, but because it is the place we feel most at home and also the freest to be ourselves."
This is the second story in a three-part series titled: Doing What We Love: Stories from an all-Female Gillnetter in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Next month Lil will share why she is an inshore fisheries researcher, reflecting on these stories!