Alaska Marine Safety Education Association is making its message simple and direct: Catch Fish. Not COVID.
The marine safety education entity in Sitka announced its vaccination promotion campaign on Tuesday, Sept. 28. The campaign will provide commercial fishermen with science-based information about vaccine safety and COVID-19 risks, while making the business case for commercial fishing vessel operators and their crews to get vaccinated.
“As a commercial fisherman recently told us, when you’re a fisherman, you are the business,” said AMSEA executive director Jerry Dzugan. “COVID-19 can sicken a crew for weeks and lead to long-term health problems, limiting their ability to fish. It’s critical that fishermen get vaccinated in order to safeguard their livelihoods.
The campaign incorporates an informational website, fishnotcovid.com, that provides fishermen with information on vaccine safety and the potential impacts of COVID-19 on their fishing operations and their ability to fish. Central to the website is the Vaccine Finder, a tool developed by the CDC that helps users locate nearby vaccination sites. The campaign will reach out to fishermen through contact with fishing organizations and through various social media platforms.
Dzugan said the campaign is not a significant department from AMSEA’s usual marine safety training programs. “AMSEA has been focused on helping commercial fishermen with marine safety training for the past 36 years,” he said. “Helping them to avoid serious illness or death from COVID-19 doesn’t feel like a stretch.”
The “Catch Fish. Not COVID” campaign is supported by funds from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.