ILWACO - If Eskimo fishermen from Emmonak, Alaska (population 767) decide not to fish for chum salmon because the Chinook run is late and coincides with the chum run, what will you do in mid-August. For editor and associate publisher of Pacific Fishing magazine Don McManman the answer is take a vacation trip to the beach for a fishermen's holiday.
"I love my job because I am working with commercial fishermen," McManman, who lives in Golendale, says. "They are hard working people, they put out a great product, and for the most part they are good stewards of their fisheries." McManman has been editor of the upscale and popular magazine about commercial fishing for four years.
"The Eskimos in Emmonak are a good example of being good stewards. It costs a lot of money to live in Alaska. A trip to the dentist can be $1,500. Yet they stopped fishing for chum salmon, a very profitable fishery for them since chum salmon in that area are very rich in oil, because they wanted to sustain the Chinook run." During the winter of 2008-2009 fishing was so poor that many of the Emmonaks could not afford heating oil.
"Commercial fishing is all about sustainability of the fish runs. If fishing stops in an area for any length of time the infrastructure goes away and the fishery won't come back even when the fish do," McManman explains. "Fishermen need ice, buyers, and a place to dock. The fishermen provide jobs for those on shore, but the fishery has to be sustainable. Right now, waters off New Zealand, Iceland, and the Gulf of Alaska have the only three fully sustainable fisheries in the world."
Pacific Fishing features stories about commercial fishing from the Gulf of Alaska to San Francisco Bay and McManman has visited most all of the places the magazine covers. In-depth stories about every type of fishing from gillnetting salmon up the Columbia River 140 miles at Bonneville Dam to albacore tuna 1,000 miles off the coast of Oregon are included. McManman kibitzed with fishermen and business owners at the Port of Ilwaco last week, including the operators of F/V Yaznak. The boat brought in a load of tuna caught 800 miles off shore. "That's a long ways out," McManman says.
He also has done a good deal of traveling during his career as a journalist. McManman graduated from high school in Madras, Ore., in 1968 where he played in the band and worked at a saw mill and as a gravedigger. He then went to Portland State to study geology and became interested in writing for PSU's newspaper, Daily Vanguard. "Reporting was more fun than going to class," he says smiling.
McManman took a job reporting for the Oregonian in 1971 and says, "I still haven't graduated from college." His career in journalism as a reporter and then an editor includes stints at the Tillamook Headlight Herald, Cincinnati Post, Tempe Daily News, Bellingham Herald, and the Tri-City Herald.
While in Bellingham McManman took a respite from writing and worked as a marine diesel mechanic. He caught the urge to fish commercially and landed in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. "The money was good at the time." His experiences fishing in the Gulf of Alaska and his journalism background have blended well in his work at Pacific Fishing.
"Our magazine is profitable because our ad manager Diane Sandvik is doing a hell of a job. She's from Petersburg, Alaska and her dad Oscar was a legendary halibut fisherman so she knows her stuff," McManman praises. "Now I'd like to increase our circulation. We did a survey last year and found out that each magazine was read on average by five different people." He laughs, "Buy your own."
His visits to commercial fishing ports like Ilwaco and Emmonak are not only helping to increase the magazine's circulation one reader at a time, but also helping McManman to continue to be an expert in the industry. "When I first started fishing I thought it would be a job filled with adventure, but I soon found out it is just a lot of hard work on the water."
Pacific Fishing is a highly-informative, no-nonsense magazine for anyone in the commercial fishing industry or for anyone who wants to learn about the challenges of being a fisherman. McManman is offering a special of 12 issues for $12 by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Chances are some of the photos McManman took of fishing vessels at the Port of Ilwaco will find their way into the magazine. For more information about the magazine go to the website, (www.pacificfishing.com).