Prince William Sound, AK
I have spent two boreal summers in Alaska, the first working for Prince William Sound Science Center (PWSSC) as a field tech and the second for Silver Bay Seafoods as a cook and deckhand on a commercial fishing tender.
As a field tech, I was part of PWSSC’s Hatchery-Wild program, a 6-year project that is studying the interactions and impacts between hatchery and wild salmon—namely pink and chum—in Prince William Sound (PWS). In a four-person crew, we worked around the clock conducting stream surveys, sampling spawned-out salmon carcasses for otolith and DNA tissues, and recording specimen measurements.
After my first summer in AK collecting data for scientific objectives, the subsequent summer I intentionally sought a position in commercial fishing to experience a perspective outside of science but within the same ecosystem. Consequently, I observed the PWS Pacific salmon fishery from two disparate perspectives of scientific research and commercial fishing. Aboard F/V Determined (110’), a tender that packs 420,000 lbs of fish, I was the only woman in a four-person crew that unloaded fish from purse-seining fishing vessels and later offloaded to the Silver Bay Seafoods cannery.
From its unbelievable wildness to its communities and delicious home-cooked meals, I can’t wait to get back to AK—hopefully this summer!