Southeast Alaska in the mid-seventies saw many a young person arrive with dreams of making a quick living on the sea, and Steve Fish was no exception. But it was also the draw of this place where land meets sea that brought Fish to Alaska in 1974. And he learned by the end of his first season that it would take more than the three months to make that "quick" living. At nineteen, Fish says, "I was looking for that independence from imposed routine." He also liked the idea of relying on his own resources and "working within the confines of nature: weather, resources, working in seasons, quotas, caprices of market - everything changes," he says, "I like change."
Later, when his growing family and economics changed his priorities, he moved from the remote fishing village of Port Alexander to the hub community of Sitka. This new home provided good winter fishing grounds and more school opportunities for his three children.
Fish's approach to fishing is to try to respect every fish and keep it at its best value. He and his crew bleed every fish, which is unusual on a refrigerated sea water (RSW) boat. Value is important to Fish and his methods are flexible. If the weather is stormy, he will ice his halibut and black cod (though not together) so as to avoid scale loss.
Fish has served on the board of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, including two years as Chair, and is currently on the board of the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association.
Profile by Mim McConnell | Photo by ASMI