; Keeping Your Net Wet: TAA Technical Assistance Program for Alaska Salmon Harvesters | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Keeping Your Net Wet: TAA Technical Assistance Program for Alaska Salmon Harvesters

Torie Baker


As a result of price declines due to the import of farmed salmon, Alaska salmon fishermen were eligible for USDA Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits for the first time in 2004. One requirement for application was to “meet with an extension agent” for technical assistance with their fishing business. Assistance delivered through a workshop setting was provided to 4,300 applicants over a stipulated 5-month period by the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program (MAP). For MAP, this program provided an unprecedented opportunity for widespread direct involvement with the harvesting sector of the Alaska salmon industry. MAP developed training materials including video, print and a workshop curriculum, developed a website, worked with a variety of partners, coordinated information distribution, and aggressively traveled to over 150 communities to meet with fishermen. With salmon fisheries taking place along 30,000 miles of coastline, technical assistance curricula was required which addressed a variety of harvesting operations, mixed regional economic conditions, and diverse cultures and languages. MAP extension agents continually strived for balance between interpreting federal agency program requirements for a first-time audience, and offering basic business technical information to a struggling industry. This presentation will be a discussion of curriculum development and delivery, and will highlight challenges and solutions for program management and multi-agency partnerships.