This fall, Salmon Sister's designer Emma created a book called Ocean Notes. Ocean Notes is a collection of words, photographs, lists, artwork and letters from seafaring women in our commercial fishing community. These women call themselves fishermen and find themselves at sea sometimes for months at a time. Commercial fishing in Alaska has traditionally been considered men’s work, but a fiercely resourceful, intelligent and creative community of women are working in the industry today. Because Alaska is big, the water is wide, and modern modes of communication are often challenging while fishing, these women send letters and write stories and reflect on their experiences through drawings and lists and poems that attempt to capture or illustrate their reality. Life at sea can be physically and mentally trying; it can also be inspiring, life-defining, and at times indescribable to those who haven’t experienced the beautiful wilds of Alaska’s oceans themselves. Each page of this publication holds a different female fisherman’s experience, the combination of pages defines a collective identity of Alaskan seafaring women.
The book contains 118 pages, some of which we've shared below. It is organized into sections of Alaska's main fishing areas, and full of amazing content submitted by women around the state. Ocean Notes is not currently for sale, though we have dreams that someday we will start sending our customers semi-annual publications like these, full of interesting, beautiful, relatable content. Emma loves designing them and there are so many amazing people and stories still to celebrate. Thank you everyone who contributed something to this project, you are all such inspiring women.
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Every week we share the stories of Alaskan makers and young fishermen on our social media channels. This project has given us a deeper appreciation for the community who work on Alaska waters and those who work to create Alaska goods. Everyday we learn from new people who inspires us to be better fishermen and create more beautiful things. Enjoy the following stories from a few of the Alaskan fishermen and makers we've learned from. Stay tuned for more wonderful stories this summer!
Thank you Vogue and the amazing Evgenia Arbugaeva for capturing this community of hard-working women that we hold in such high esteem. What a day for this diverse group of strong and independent women to have a moment of recognition. We feel incredibly to lucky to be able to use our Salmon Sisters audience to highlight our larger community and Alaska’s commercial fisheries.
This year, we traveled to Astoria, Oregon to attend the annual FisherPoets Gathering, a celebration of the commercial fishing industry in poetry, prose and song. FisherPoets has attracted storytellers and their many fans since 1998. We dare say it was one of the highlights of our winter.