NEWPORT - When people hear the words "commercial fishing," they may think of fishing boats large or small, with hardy seamen hauling in fish on nets or poles. What may not come immediately to mind are the families back in port, and the roles they play in supporting fishermen and keeping fishing businesses afloat.
A new, 20-minute video from Oregon Sea Grant - a research, education and outreach program based at Oregon State University - takes an intimate look at that side of commercial fishing, and some of the women who provide the onshore support for the fishing industry and the coastal communities that depend on it.
"Family, Business and Community: The Lives of Fishermen's Wives" follows the daily lives of four Newport women - Connie Kennedy, Michele Longo Eder, Lisa Newell and Kelley Retherford. Through them the video examines a variety of issues common to fishing families: separation, economic struggles and the challenges of working in a highly regulated natural resource industry.
Although they represent different gear types and lifestyles, the four agree on many matters, including the importance of teaching state and federal fisheries managers that their decisions affect not only fleets and fishermen, but families and entire communities.
The 1996 revision of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act recognizes how important human communities are to the fisheries. The act requires fisheries managers to keep in mind how important fishery resources are to communities and people, and to minimize impacts to those communities when considering fishery regulations.
The Sea Grant video is aimed at those fisheries managers, along with industry leaders and anyone else who seeks to understand more about the human side of commercial fishing.
Produced and taped by Corvallis videographer David Bogan, the video project was organized with help from Flaxen Conway, Oregon Sea Grant community outreach specialist, and Extension Sea Grant agent Ginny Goblirsch of Newport, herself a fisherman's wife.
The tape (ORESU-V-98-002) is available for purchase or rent from Oregon Sea Grant Communications, 402 Kerr Admin. Bldg., Corvallis OR 97331. The purchase price is $15 plus $3.50 postage and handling; rental is $5.