SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Eulachon Fishery
By George Jackson


February 16, 2006

Dear Sitnew readers:

I am responding to the comments posted in regards to the Eulachon Fishery. I agree with your comments. I too am a subsistence gatherer here in Sitka. I was born and raised in Ketchikan, I lived there for 27 years of my life. I grew up in Saxman and ate lots of fish. To me eating fish was a sign of being financially burdened. When times were tough we pulled some salmon, halibut herring eggs or Eulachon. If we didn't have time for that we opened a couple jars of fresh pack or smoked canned salmon and cooked some rice.

To me growing up eating seafood was a way of survival not leisure. We didn't eat it because we desired it, we ate because we were broke. Throughout southeast Alaska there seems to be a higher rate of unemployment during the non-tourist season. As a full-time student and a father of five children working part time in the winter so I can have an education, my family and many other families depend on subsistence to make it through the winter. My elders taught me that our lifestyle is who we are and our history. In other words, taking our traditional foods.

As I have gotten older I've come to realize that subsistence is not only necessary for physical survival when times are hard, but they are necessary for our cultural survival, as well. Loss of our subsistence foods due to over harvesting and lack of caution in commercial fisheries is a loss of our soul food.

I once heard an elder giving a welcome speech in Saxman and she said, "I am ninety two years old and I eat fish everyday, thank you for joining us tonight, eat fish."

George Jackson
Sitka, AK - USA

About: George Jackson is a full-time student attending the UAS Sitka Campus majoring in Business Administration. He is a life long resident of Southeast Alaska and raised on a subsistance lifestyle.

Related News:

Subsistence Eulachon Fishery Closed in Federal Waters in Burroughs Bay Area - Ketchikan-Misty Fiords District Ranger Lynn Kolund has announced that he is acting immediately to protect eulachon stocks in the Burroughs Bay/Unuk River area north of Ketchikan, Alaska. The ranger, as in-season manager, is closing the Federal subsistence eulachon fishery to all users in Federal public waters in the Burroughs Bay/Unuk River area (Area 1D) due to very low fish numbers in 2004 and 2005. The Federal Subsistence Board has delegated to him this in-season management authority. - More...
Thursday - February 09, 2006


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