While many jobs across the country seem to be replaced by automation (try talking to a human when your internet service goes out), the fishing industry is one requiring a bi-pedal humanoid with ample strength, courage and smarts. The problem is, it is difficult. You can’t go to school and take a class to become a fisherman, it takes mentoring under often, lousy conditions. What is attractive about fishing for a living is independence, something many people don’t realize they want until they’ve spent years working in a cubicle.
Currently, the age of the average fisherman is between 55-60 years old and there are not many youthful wannabees ready to take over the helm. The Commercial Fishermen’s Festival in Astoria, Oregon hopes to attract the youth of today through exhibitions and demonstrations. This festival will run September 14 and 15. One attraction that will intrigue young and old alike is the model boat exhibit and demonstrations by Ron Burchett of Canada. Mr. Burchett builds models for international boat building companies; He tests designs for seakeeping, stability and efficiency. This year, he is providing resources to show attendees of the fest how the fishing industry works. He’ll have around 20 fishing boat models on hand, including a seiner that launches a remote-controlled seine skiff, deploys a net in a circle, closes the purse and then retrieves the net, all by remote control. Also on hand will be models of crab boats, including some famous TV boats, that can launch and retrieve crab pots. Mr. Burchett says he’ll even have a US Coast Guard enforcement vessel on hand with lights and loudhailer. The test pool he’ll launch his fleet in is not exclusive! He welcomes any others who have vessels ready to set sail.
It’s time to pry our children away from their electronic adventures and get them out among the elders to learn the trades that have been essential to the existence of our communities for years. There are future fishermen among them; it’s our responsibility to open the docks and decks to them.