United Fisherman of Alaska is launching a new salmon habitat program aimed at engaging Alaska’s fishing fleet in habitat policy issues.

Lindsey Bloom, UFA’s salmon habitat director, said the topic can be hard to stay up to speed on.

“We have found for many years that there’s so much out there and it’s such a big topic and so difficult to stay up to speed,” said Bloom. “There’s the big global issues of ocean acidification, climate change, things like that. Then there’s just smaller regional issues that are unique to say Bristol Bay, Southeast Alaska or Cook Inlet.”

Bloom says UFA traditionally sends out large newsletters to engage its audience in several issues in the fishing industry. The Salmon Habitat Information Program – or SHIP – will target only salmon-related topics.

“So we want to do a better job as an organization consolidating information, keeping fisherman informed on what they want to be informed about and providing opportunities for them to be engaged with policy making and decision makers,” said Bloom.

UFA is conducting a survey at ufafish.org to find out what issues fishermen are interested in and how they want to be engaged.

Bloom said how the program engages fisherman will be formed around the survey.