ALFA plans documentary on fishing families

A documentary film on the connection between small boat fishing fleets and coastal communities is in the works by the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association.

“We Are All Fishermen,” with production slated to be completed by this fall, will tell the stories of local fishermen and examine the obstacles faced by small boat owners trying to preserve their way of life for future generations.

The project, aided by a recent grant rom the popular clothing company Patagonia, will highlight the importance of small boat fisheries in ensuring healthy coastal communities, and, in turn, the role that community-based fisheries play in ensuring a viable and sustainably caught food source for all.

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

“Fishing families have a long-tem commitment to sustainable fisheries,” said Linda Behnken, executive director of ALFA and a veteran harvester. “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,” she said.

Award-winning filmmaker Emmett Williams, of Mission Man Media, is the producing the documentary. “The challenges facing small boats and young people interested in fishing are complex and growing,” Williams said. “Our goal with this film is to simply tell their stories, and also the stories of the fishermen who came before them and are worried about the industry’s future.”

Filming has already begun on location out of Sitka and Juneau. Williams spent a week filming Juneau-based longline and Dungeness crab fisherman Peter Ord, his daughter Annika, and his son Nathan last spring, after ALFA officially launched the project.

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