AK - Fear and fishing: Tiny Alaskan village tries to manage influx of commercial fishermen amid COVID-19
"It's just how the earth is supposed to be," says third-generation commercial fishing boat captain Katherine Carscallen. She's talking about her homeland, Bristol Bay, Alaska. Every June and July, more than half of the world's supply of sockeye salmon are pulled from these waters.
It sounds excessive, but it's not; in a highly regulated practice, thousands of fish are left to return home and spawn, allowing the industry to support the region for generations.
The yearly salmon fishery brings in an estimated $200 million in direct revenue to the community of Bristol Bay, says Norm Van Vactor, president and CEO of Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation.
"Overall, it's a multi-billion dollar fishery," he says of the thousands of fisherman who come from all over the world to fish for salmon. On average, 10,000 fishermen come each year -- but oftentimes that number is upwards of 15,000. In addition, 6,000 fish processing workers also descend on the tiny community.