America’s fishermen have no shortage of issues pulling their eyes from the water — changing ecosystems, constant regulatory review, market fluctuations, competing ocean development, rising supply and fuel costs, all in addition to the work of fishing itself. It can be easy to get caught in the overwhelm, and forget that our roots provide us with a basic, powerful advocacy tool — our unique, personal stories about food, wild places, and the complexity of modern sustainability.
Alaska commercial fisherman and Ocean Strategies consultant Hannah Heimbuch recently participated in a unique approach to seafood news, spending a morning in a Seattle studio kitchen recording 26 back-to-back interviews. Such as this morning show piece from Oklahoma. And this national podcast with Chef Jamie Gwen. For five hours, Hannah spoke live with hosts from California to Texas to Massachusetts, sharing why fishermen care about sustainability, how we work for it, and the food that comes from it. Taking this many-station approach diversified the locations and types of audiences reached, creating national scope with a regional lens.
This got us thinking about how fishermen can be doing this more within their own news regions. Maybe your hook is food, small business, ocean health, or simply the appeal of marine livelihoods. Regardless, there is a mainstream place for fishermen as critical ambassadors for the entire seafood supply chain.
Reaching broad audiences is more than selling fish or getting clicks. Amid stories of environmental crisis, political gridlock, crowded waterfronts and other things that challenge perceptions of fishing livelihoods, we need to be the ones telling our story to voters, consumers and decision makers.
Reaching broad audiences is more than selling fish or getting clicks. Amid stories of environmental crisis, political gridlock, crowded waterfronts and other things that challenge perceptions of fishing livelihoods, we need to be the ones telling our story to voters, consumers and decision makers. We need to describe how fishing communities, good food and ocean health are all part of the same sustainability vision, why it’s exciting to buy seafood, and critical to support it.
Of course, reaching a wider audience is easier said than done. If you are a commercial fisherman or fishing group interested in media training, public speaking pointers and/or tips on developing talking points, our team at Ocean Strategies can help. We’ve made it our business to support yours, and just like you, we know the hard conversations can be just as impressionable as sharing the best way to make fish tacos — it all depends on the audience!
Fishermen know that sustainable seafood is an essential resource for healthy people and planet, and that community-based fishermen are natural leaders in ecological stewardship and community resilience. Slowing down to share the things about our industry that make us hopeful and healthy — no matter the topic or venue — is one of the ways we can show it.
Seafood is personal to us. Our first-hand knowledge helps make it personal to our neighbors.
Seafood is personal to us. Our first-hand knowledge helps make it personal to our neighbors. Your fishing business is a part of the cultural and economic fabric of your community and the long-term food security of the nation. Your connection to the water is an outlet for others to better understand our oceans and what they need to thrive.
When fishermen speak for sustainable policies, or work to build trust and appeal with the public, our personal experience is our ally. From Congressional offices to management hearings to media, whether we’re offering a sound bite or an in-depth story, fishermen are experts within their own ecosystem.
Where do you want and need to tell your story? Let us know how we can help.
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