Marine Advisory Program hires agent in Dillingham
Gabe Dunham has been hired as the Marine Advisory Program agent based in Dillingham, filling the position that has been vacant since Izetta Chambers left last June.
Dunham grew up in the fishing town of Petersburg, and initially earned a living as a marine mechanic. "After a number of years as a diesel and outboard mechanic I went back to school at the University of Alaska Anchorage for business, and started fishing in Bristol Bay on a drifter out of Naknek to pay tuition," he said.
Fishing eight seasons in Bristol Bay helped spark an interest in fisheries economics.
"There are few places," he said, "that will provide the same perspective on the economic decisions made by resource users. Two, where you can see the impacts of resource management and scarcity on people and communities. And three, where you can get an overall sense of the importance of resources to rural Alaskan communities."
Dunham earned a Master's degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics at the University of Rhode Island, and then spent a year working in the National Sea Grant Office in Washington, D.C. under a Knauss Marine Policy fellowship.
The Marine Advisory Program (MAP) is a statewide outreach and technical assistance program designed to help Alaskans wisely develop, use, conserve, and enjoy Alaska's marine and coastal resources. The program is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and funding comes from the State of Alaska and NOAA's National Sea Grant College Program.
Dunham says he enjoys the intersection of fishing and business, and that he was excited to get the Dillingham job. He says there are interesting professional challenges inherent to this area and industry, and a wealth of valuable cultural knowledge to draw on. Dunham also says he's enjoying settling into the community and learning the recreational opportunities the area has to offer.
"Of course it also helps that I just plain like living in a small town," he says.