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Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

Oral History of Oregon Residents in Alaska's Historical Commercial Fishing Boom Times

National Standard Eight of the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act states that "conservation and management measures shall, consistent with the conservation requirements of this Act (including the prevention of overfishing rebuilding of overfished stocks), take into account the importance of fishery resources to fishing communities in order to (A) provide for the sustained participation of such communities, and (B) to the extent practicable, minimize adverse economic impacts on such communities."

In order to meet the requirements of National Standard Eight, it is important that we understand the past participation of communities to "provide for the sustained participation" of these communities. Our study focused on those in the harvest sector including boat owners, captains, and crew members.

In 2010, the ESSR Program began a study to gather the oral history of Oregon fishermen who fished in Alaska during the 1960s-80s. (Recent field work by Oregon State University in Oregon fishing communities revealed that many current Oregon commercial fishermen got their start fishing in Alaska during the boom days of fishing. (See AFSC Quarterly Report, January-February-March 2010 issue.))

Thus far, a total of 21 unstructured interviews have been conducted in Newport, Oregon, and surrounding Oregon Coast communities and in Kodiak, Alaska. Interviews were conducted from July through the end of September. The historical narratives produced by the interviews will be compiled and submitted for publication. An analysis of the social implications will also be completed. With the permission of participants, the interview transcripts will be archived in the Voices from the Fisheries Oral History Database (, available for use by researchers and the public.

This project is supported by the NOAA Preserve America Initiative, part of Preserve America, a federal initiative aimed at preserving, protecting, and promoting our nation's rich heritage. This project is also supported by NMFS.

By Christina Package

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