Empowering the next generation of Alaska Fishermen to be successful in their careers and communities

About the Network

The Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network is a developing effort that aims to engage and empower the next generation of fishermen to be successful in their careers and communities. We are currently building a statewide steering committee and regional chapters to help guide development — through social gatherings, educational opportunities, celebrations, resource sharing and more. By connecting young fishermen to each other, to strong mentors and to the resources they need to be successful, we support thriving and resilient fishing communities. 

The Network values principles of mentorship, education, stewardship, accountability and community health in all of its actions. It strives to create opportunities for young fishermen to develop new skills and connections, build strong businesses, and be active and positive members of their fishing communities. We promote opportunities for fishermen to engage in policy and management processes, and to become leaders in diverse arenas of the fish world. 

If you are a young fisherman or mentor and would like to be more involved, please join by clicking the link below, contact Rachel Donkersloot at, or join the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network Facebook Group.


Commercial fishermen are unique in the modern world, harboring dynamic knowledge of work and place. It is vital to foster that knowledge in the next generation, and support the future of fishing.

Guiding Principles


Transfer of knowledge in the fishing industry has relied on practical experience and mentorship for millennia. Even with modern tools and regulations, this is still an integral part of training fishermen to be safe and successful in their careers. Mentorship is a key component in all aspects of the Network — from its development to its independent activities.   


As food producers, small business owners, and stakeholders in a dynamic system of natural resources, it is vital that young fishermen develop the skills and opportunities to share their experiences and insights. Whether addressing decision makers, their peers, or their communities, the voices of community-based fishermen are essential to supporting stable fisheries and a public that values them. The Network prioritizes a community of diversity and communication, aiming to support fishermen of varied backgrounds, views and experiences.


Stakeholder engagement in policy and management processes is essential to shaping fisheries that support fishermen, communities and seafood consumers. The Network will promote and support opportunities for young fishermen to participate in trade organizations, policy processes and conversations with decision makers. While the Network itself does not take formal positions on policy, it does encourage its members to seek knowledge and understanding of important issues as well as opportunities to voice their opinions.

Diversification & Education

Modern fishermen need a wide set of skills to build a successful fishing business. Mechanics, navigation, gear maintenance, finances and business planning, awareness of regulatory processes and more. As people reliant on a changing ecosystem, we also must be adaptable to the ebb and flow of resource availability. Opportunities to build new skills and diversify fishing operations are key elements for young fishermen as they build stable careers in the marine world. 

Stewardship & Accountability

As individuals and families whose livelihoods are dependent on the health and stability of the marine environment, the Network highly values conservation-minded resource management, and the role of fishermen as stewards of ocean resources. We value accountability in our business practices and policies, working together to support healthy ecosystems and thriving fishing businesses. 

Community Health

Marine resources and those whose livelihoods depend on them are often integrally intertwined with many aspects of community well being. Fishermen provide healthy food and economic opportunity to their communities, and represent vital aspects of cultural identity. They also work in high risk and often high stress environments. A key component of the Network's vision is creating a community of fishermen that can support one another and serve as role models for actively engaged, healthy community members.