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Fishing Families and Women in Alaska’s Fisheries

Research highlights fishing family dynamics and women's roles in Alaska’s fisheries.

Two people in orange suits handling a net on a boat with green hills and water in background

Over recent decades, Alaska’s fisheries have undergone many regulatory, environmental, social, and economic changes, which have differentially affected dynamics in fishing families. Researchers from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center explored these changes and their effects on fishing families in a series of focus groups held throughout Gulf of Alaska fishing communities in 2017 and 2018. These focus groups covered three topics examining:

  • Family roles and gender division of labor
  • Impacts of management
  • Environmental, economic, and social conditions on these roles
  • Future of fishing families and women in Alaska's fisheries.

The research demonstrates the integral work of women in fishing families and their dynamic roles in Alaska’s fisheries more broadly. It further showcases how fishing families have, and continue to, adapt to multifaceted conditions in Alaska’s fisheries. This research has resulted in several scientific journal publications and web stories, and is an ongoing effort to document novel conditions, adaptations, and resilience.

Thanks to Sarah Marrinan, North Pacific Fishery Management Council staff, for help with conducting these focus groups.


Word cloud of top 100 words used to characterize fishing families by focus group participants, see “Adaptations and well-being” article below. Figure: NOAA Fisheries.



Main themes explored in the literature on women’s fisheries participation by method employed to examine them, see “Addressing the Gender Gap” article below. Figure: NOAA Fisheries.