The Salmon Sisters of Alaska are Fighting for a Healthy, Sustainable Fish Future

Civil Eats –

The remote Aleutian Islands are a group of 14 large volcanic islands and 55 smaller islands, mostly belonging to the state of Alaska, known for challenging weather and strong winds. But that has never stopped sisters Claire Neaton (pictured at right, above) and Emma Privat (at left), 29 and 28 respectively, from fishing for halibut and salmon in the archipelago’s waters.

Neaton and Privat are commercial fishermen who grew up on an off-the-grid homestead in this remote region. In 2012, the pair founded Salmon Sisters, a seafood and apparel company that is gaining national recognition and helping feed hungry Alaskans via the Give Fish Project. (Like many female fish harvesters, they choose the term fishermen to describe themselves.)

The sisters fish for salmon, cod, and halibut alongside their family members, including their father who still fishes during the summer months. Currently, the family has four boats with crews of up to five people.

Alaska produces more wild seafood than all the other states combined—and its strict conservation practices and pristine marine waters set it apart on the global market, according to a 2017 report by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. The state has written sustainable fishing practices into its constitution, and many entities—fishermen, scientists, conservationists, and government organizations—collaborate to make sure fish are caught by methods that maintain fish stocks and minimize harm to the plants and animals in the marine environment.

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