Fishing gear, a large fleet of trailers, a new boat, a couple of dozen fishing boats and dozens of fishing boats are the stuff of legend at the fishing village of the Elk, Alaska, a place where you can catch a fish for a living.
But, according to one of the fishermen, the locals aren’t all that thrilled about the fishing business, with some saying the industry is too dangerous.
[A look at Alaska’s fishing industry]”It’s not really a sustainable business, we just keep the money,” said Joe Soto, owner of the Fish Village.
“If we just kept the money, it would be like we were running a grocery store.”
Soto said his family owns the village, and the town has been around since 1887.
He owns two of the boats and a few of the trailers that he uses to fish for his family, but he says he’s struggling to keep up with the demand.
“We have so much demand, and we are getting ready to sell,” Soto said.
“We have some of our trailers out there and we’re doing a little bit of fishing.
It’s just too hard to keep that going.”
Sandy Rios, a local business owner, agrees.
Rios said her family has been fishing for about 20 years.
“It is an industry where it’s like the old days, when you were young and you would get one fish, one day you would be hooked,” she said.
“I don’t think it’s sustainable.”
The village is a small, family-owned operation that sells fish for about $15 per pound, and has about 80 people employed.
The fishing industry employs a total of about 2,000 people, including a couple dozen family members, according the Fish Ministry.
Soto says he and his wife have a boat with him, but said it’s too expensive for their family.
He said he would like to sell it and give it to a local family, so he could buy a fishing boat.
“The community is not happy about it,” Sotos said.
Rios said that her family doesn’t know what the future holds.
“My wife and I have been fishing on the water for 20 years, and it’s still not sustainable,” she told Al Jazeera.
“It’s just a lot of money for the fish, but it’s not sustainable.”
Sotos said that his family is hoping to find a new business to keep the fishing industry going, but that he hopes to keep fishing.
“Our whole family, we have the same fishing business,” he said.
The Fish Village has been in business for more than 100 years, but is in the midst of a recession.
Al Jazeera’s Alana Seifert, reporting from Alaska, said the town is facing the prospect of a $1.3 million budget cut next year.
“The [fishing] community is in a deep depression,” Seifart said.
Sotos is hoping that with the government’s help, the fishing community can stay afloat.
“They could help us get back on track,” he told Aljazeera.
“There’s no money for us.
We’re in a hole, we’re in debt.”
Al Jazeera’s Laura Zucco contributed to this report.