KODIAK -- A casting call is out for Alaska women to star in an Animal Planet reality show.
"The name of the show we are casting is 'Alaska Fishermen's Wives,'" said Annette Ivy, casting producer with Shed Media US in Los Angeles. "We are looking for a kind of flip side of 'Deadliest Catch,' and that would be the fishermen's wives and their lifestyle. We're interested in the stresses and challenges they go through when their husbands are out at sea and they're left holding down the fort.
"People are interested in seeing other lifestyles," Ivy added. "Do these women fish and hunt? What do they do for fun? We want to peek into their lifestyles because it really is very unique. We are very excited."
Ivy said producers are seeking a "community" of five to six women who live near each other and are friends. Coast Guard wives whose husbands are on fisheries patrols for long periods also fit the casting profile.
"We want a lively bunch, big personalities, very talkative and outgoing and outspoken," she said.
Ivy said the casting call is "now" and they hope to cast the program "in a few weeks."
GOOD GRADES IN THE BAY
Bristol Bay salmon fishermen got good report cards for boosting the quality of their fish.
For the past two summers, a group of 15 driftnet fishermen at Egegik participated in a project that graded portions of the salmon catch they delivered to processors. The fish were headed and gutted and graded by plant standards to see how much, or if, their quality scores improved.
"The percentage of No. 1 quality fish went from 43 percent in 2009 to 69 percent in 2010. That's a huge jump," said project director Mark Buckley, a 23-year Bay fisherman and owner/operator of Digital Observer Inc.
That jump in quality translated to a nice price boost.
"Comparing 2009 with 2010, the average value of the fish we studied rose 18 cents a pound -- just by improving the quality," Buckley said.
The fishermen were provided with simple tips to improve their handling practices out on the water, such as lowering brailler weights or using a Salmon Slide to reduce wear and tear on the fish. In follow-up questionnaires, Buckley fishermen unanimously supported the report card incentive and the handling-quality tips they received. The program will be expanded throughout Bristol Bay this summer.
Buckley said he believes the Bristol Bay salmon fishery has reached a turning point for the better, and he credits the Bay's Regional Seafood Development Association for leading the way.
"If they weren't funding this work, no one else would be. This is motivated and driven by the fishermen themselves with the interest in improving their bottom lines through common sense methods of improving quality," he said. Some project funding also came from federal grants.
Buckley added that he will continue to advocate for fishermen to be rewarded for the quality of salmon they deliver.
Laine Welch is a Kodiak-based fisheries journalist. Her Fish Radio programs can be heard on stations around the state. Her information column appears every other Sunday. This material is protected by copyright. For information on reprinting or placing on your Web site or newsletter, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.