Faces of U.S. Seafood: Q&A w/ Savanah Lisherness

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Photo by Bri Dwyer

Buying wild-caught American seafood makes a difference to the economy and your health. The Partners of Commercial Fishermen (PCF) promote awareness by sharing their lives in and around the industry. Together, we are the faces behind each catch.

COVID-19 has affected our fishermen in ways not many understand.

Prices dropped, markets closed, and many fisheries were devastated before the Coronavirus even made landfall in America.

Because of that, a group of brave women from the Partners of Commercial Fisherman Facebook Group (also known as, PCF) shared what it’s like behind the scenes for their loved ones and themselves.

Here’s the Facebook post that began a wave of supportive and outspoken women that I couldn’t be more grateful for:

PCF member and crab fisherwoman, Savanah Lisherness opens up about what it’s like on and off the sea. She and her partner, Hank Todd, are just one example of the people who work tirelessly to bring you and your family the best quality seafood available.

So, without further ado…

Meet Savanah Lisherness:

Tell us about your fisherman.

My fisherman is Hank Todd and he was a Bering Sea fisherman for king crab and opilio crab during the winter and tendered salmon during the summer. He’s now fishing Dungeness crab out of Puget Sound and Brookings, Oregon on the F/V Payback.

(F/V = Fishing Vessel)

How long have you been together?

We met in 2014 through mutual friends on a camping trip and started dating in 2018, so we’ve been together for two years (even though he chased me for three-years beforehand).

Did you had experience with the fishing industry before you got together?

Before Hank, I had absolutely zero relationships with the fishing industry. We started dating at the end of April and by June 1st, I was on the F/V KETA headed to Alaska for the summer.

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Photo by Bri Dwyer

What tips can you share with others navigating the PCF lifestyle?

Just to be involved.

Hank has so many stories and knowledge and loves to share both equally. One of my favorite is sitting around and listening to his stories. Most of the time, hearing the things he has witness or experience just by being apart of this fishing world is more than I would want to endure. But, he is super proud of what he has accomplished and it’s fun for him to tell his story. I always try to ask a lot of questions whether they are about boat mechanics, fisheries, or the weather.

Being involved in their life, even if you’re on land, makes things better.

What is the hardest part of being a PCF?

The hardest part as I am sure anyone will agree is being apart when they are gone for whatever season.

We have been very fortunate in our relationship and made the decision to buy a boat (F/V payback) and fish together at home. Now, the hardest part for me is reminding myself to leave “it” on the boat – whatever happens during the workday, stays on the boat.

You can’t let a bad work day ruin the rest of your day at home together.

What is the most fun?

Learning from him.

I have an entire set of skills I wouldn’t have acquired if he wasn’t patient enough to teach me. I can tie all sorts of knots and can find my way around a boat with ease. Also, being able to hang out with him every day is also a huge plus.

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What does being a PCF mean to you?

It means being tough.

You’ve got to be willing and able to weather the storm, so to speak. The commercial fishing industry is a tough place with tough people and it’s not suitable for most. But, it’s one of the most rewarding lifestyles.

Being able to go out and work hard and support your family doing a job most people wouldn’t dream of trying is a trip of its own.

How can others support our domestic seafood market?

Just pay attention to what you’re buying. Support your local fishermen.

Instead of buying the import crab or farmed fish, buy wild-caught. Go to a fresh fish market instead of Fred Meyers (or other grocery store).

If everyone buying seafood just put a little bit of thought into it, I think a whole lot would change. 🐟

Are you a partner of a commercial fisherman? If so, please share in the comments or join our group below!

If Your loved one is a fisherman, JOIN THE PRIVATE GROUP, PARTNERS OF COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN HERE!

PARTNERS-COMMERCIAL-FISHERMEN

In Case You Missed It:

DATING A COMMERCIAL FISHERMAN: Q&A W/ PHOTOGRAPHER BRI DWYER

PART 1: WORRIES WHEN DATING A COMMERCIAL FISHERMAN

3 thoughts on “Faces of U.S. Seafood: Q&A w/ Savanah Lisherness

  1. Keep up the great pictures and dialogue, Bri!!
    Everyone loves knowing how and where seafood comes from…very romantic.

    1. Hi Jane! Thank you so much for reading! I am very thankful for Bri’s photography to bring the images of commercial fishermen to life. Teamwork makes the dream work! 🙂 For the rest of April and May, I’ll be posting more interviews of partners of commercial fishermen that I hope you’ll enjoy just as much. Thanks again for being here and being a part of the movement to promote U.S. wild-caught seafood! <3

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