Two commercial fishing boats ply the waters of Alaska's Bristol Bay
Commercial fishing in Alaska Fishing boats work the waters of Alaska's Bristol Bay at the height of the wild sockeye salmon run. © Ami Vitale

Stories in Alaska

Tidal Change: Love, Hope and Wonder at Sea

Listen to Alaska’s commercial fishers talk about signs of climate change in the places where they live and work.

We all love stories from the sea. Abundance. Hope. Wonder. People who work on Alaska’s fishing boats see it all up close. We wanted to know more about how commercial fishers are experiencing signs of change in the places where they live and work, so we sat down to listen.

We were impressed with what we heard. Now, we’re sharing their perspectives with you: In “Tidal Change,” we’ve collected audio stories from nine men and women who see nature up close. We’re pleased to amplify these voices of experience because they deserve a place in Alaska’s larger conversation about climate change.

The Nature Conservancy believes that talking openly about the impacts and opportunities that Alaskans are experiencing as a result of climate change will help our state craft the most robust response. It’s key in securing a future in which both people and nature thrive.

These Tidal Change interviews were recorded in our soundproof studio booth at the Pacific Marine Expo trade show in Seattle, Washington, in November, 2018.

Alaska commercial fisherman Leonard Leach, Juneau
Leonard Leach Alaska commercial fisherman Leonard Leach, Juneau ©; Rich Frishman

Leonard Leach

The environment’s changing. Undoubtedly.

Lia Cook, a biochemistry student at the Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, and a resident of Anchorage
Lia Cook Lia Cook, a biochemistry student at the Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, and a resident of Anchorage ©; Rich Frishman

Lia Cook

I truly believe commercial fishing has shaped who I am and what I’m capable of.

Commercial fisherman Bob Eder of Newport, Oregon
Bob Eder Commercial fisherman Bob Eder of Newport, Oregon ©; Rich Frishman

Bob Eder

Climate change is my single biggest concern relative to the ocean environment and to the industry that I participate in.

Sonja Rootvik (standing) and her mother, Lauri Rootvik
Sonja and Lauri Rootvik Sonja Rootvik (standing) and her mother, Lauri Rootvik ©; Rich Frishman

Lauri and Sonja Rootvik

There's something very special about fishing. It's in my blood, it's my home.

Triston Chaney of Dillingham, AK; permit holder and marine biology student at the University of Alaska, Juneau
Triston Chaney Triston Chaney of Dillingham, AK; permit holder and marine biology student at the University of Alaska, Juneau ©; Rich Frishman

Triston Chaney

Everybody's saying this year in particular, "Man, those fish are so small this year."

Alaska commercial fisher Frances Leach of Juneau, Alaska
Frances Leach Alaska commercial fisher Frances Leach of Juneau, Alaska ©; Rich Frishman

Frances Leach

I want salmon to be around for generations and we're in control of that as humans. It's all on us.

David Sohappy of the Yakama Tribe, commercial fisherman on the Columbia River
David Sohappy David Sohappy of the Yakama Tribe, commercial fisherman on the Columbia River ©; Rich Frishman

David Sohappy

In our belief, if the Indians don't take care of and worship the salmon, the salmon will disappear.

Katrina Leary of Ryan Air, Alaska
Katrina Leary Katrina Leary of Ryan Air, Alaska ©; Rich Frishman

Katrina Leary

This is what it's all about. This is such a generational thing and it's so beautiful.

 These Tidal Change interviews were recorded in our soundproof studio booth at the Pacific Marine Expo trade show in Seattle, Washington, in November, 2016.

Alaska commercial fisherman Larry Vander Lind
Larry Vander Lind Alaska commercial fisherman Larry Vander Lind ©; TNC

Larry Vander Lind

The abundance of Alaska—of the salmon—is unbelievable.

Alaska commercial fisher Melanie Brown
Melanie Brown Alaska commercial fisher Melanie Brown ©; TNC

Melanie Brown

I feel like I’m living a legacy. It’s this continuation of a river flowing in time…and I want that to continue for my children.

Alaska commercial fisherman Bob Snell
Bob Snell Alaska commercial fisherman Bob Snell ©; TNC

Bob Snell

The planet has provided me with a rich and healthy life and I’d like others to have that opportunity to benefit.

Alaska commercial fisherman Peter Andrew
Peter Andrew Alaska commercial fisherman Peter Andrew ©; TNC

Peter Andrew

I’ve seen the water temperature go up and it scares me.

Adrienne Wilber

The fishermen that I grew up most respecting consider themselves stewards of their industry.

Alaska commercial fisherman Eugene Anderson
Eugene Anderson Alaska commercial fisherman Eugene Anderson ©; TNC

Eugene Anderson

Most fishermen agree that something’s not right.

Alaska commercial fisher Sharry Miller
Sharry Miller Alaska commercial fisher Sharry Miller ©; TNC

Sharry Miller

When it comes to global climate change, we all need to be more informed, period.

Alaska commercial fishers Jon and Brenda Gaedke
Jon and Brenda Gaedke Alaska commercial fishers Jon and Brenda Gaedke ©; TNC

Jon and Brenda Gaedke

It’s real difficult for young people to get into the business.

Triston Chaney of Dillingham, AK, records an interview with members of TNC's TidalChange.org.
Tidal Change recording booth Triston Chaney of Dillingham, AK, records an interview with members of TNC's TidalChange.org. © Rich Frishman

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