Tails from Bristol Bay

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“We fish in a beautiful, majestic, and unique place. This is what I want people to know about my fishing.” -Elijah Lawson: fisherman and filmmaker.

The life of a fisherman is something mysterious and hard to imagine for most of us. Tails from Bristol Bay, a small documentary project based in Alaska, is an amazing insight into the arduous work that Alaskan fishing families put into getting us the wild salmon that we as consumers put at such high demand.

Check out this website that is filled with breathtaking photographs, stories from the fishermen as well as a beautiful video preview of the documentary in the making! Tails from Bristol Bay is produced/directed by Elijah Lawson and the director of photography is Randall Peck.

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This project not only helps consumers appreciate the work that is put into this job but also helps give a voice to the fishermen. Bristol Bay is home to world’s largest wild salmon fishery and the preservation of this resource is of the utmost importance.

According to the Institute of Social and Economic Research: “In 2010, harvesting, processing and retailing Bristol Bay salmon and the multiplier effects of these activities created $1.5 billion in output or sales value across the United States.” Help spread the word about this beautiful and bountiful resource by sharing this website with others!

Below is a sample of Elijah Lawson’s work, crossposted from his blog post entitled: “Every interview we do teaches me more…”  This post is a brief description of the filming and interviewing process for this project.

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June 17, 2013

Every interview we do teaches me more about the people who work here in Bristol Bay. It’s funny that I’ve worked along side some of the people whom we’ve spoken with on camera. Yet I’m suprised about how little I really know about them and their background.  It’s been so interesting to learn about how Jerry Liboff gave up graduate school studying economics to live in Alaska. Robert washed dishes at the Muddy Rudder restaurant in Dillingham and then lived in Tent city until he got a job crewing. He’s now one of the most prolific fishermen in the Bay.

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<<1am on the lake for some really cool footage on the Alaskan sunset

Genevia retired as a teacher and now runs the boat with her grandchildren.  I’m blown away with the sophistication of this group of fishers. I’ve learned about peoples humble start to the fisheries and now how they are such seasoned veterans. I’ve heard stories of boats being passed down from generation to generation kept in the family for decades and hopefully passed on for decades more. One thing becomes very clear, we are all in the same boat. The salmon are the blood flowing through the veins of the rivers. The salmon feed the earth, the animals and the people. The salmon is the life force in Bristol Bay Alaska.


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This series of pictures was taken at Lake Aleknagik. Midnight into the early morning provided us with still water and inky skies that just don’t go dark enough at this time of year to see the stars.

Posted by: Chefs Collaborative

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