The Image of the Working Waterfront

It is with great dismay that I read the article discussing attempts by officials in Unalaska, Alaska to shed the city’s “image” of rowdy fishermen as portrayed in the Discovery Channel’s hit television show Deadliest Catch.   I do recognize that Alaska has much to offer the potential tourist or entrepreneur, but I would imagine that to some the draw to visit the city might just be the very culture authorities are trying to suppress.  And my greatest concern would be that, in addition to the attempt to “beautify” the image and reputation of the city, the next step might actually represent a move toward gentrification of the working waterfront areas.

Mind you that I am not opposed to growth.  While I am a far cry from a reactionary, I do recognize that the fishing industry has been and continues to be the economic bread and butter of the state, but beyond the financial contribution, there is the historic and culture heritage that the fishing industry represents.  How quick are we to forget that the very things we are trying to hide is what pays our bills, supports our culture and exemplifies our heritage.  There is a surreal and raw beauty that accompanies a fishing wharf.  There is something quite spiritual about men and women, young and old, who hang out on the dock and whose very existence depends on going down to the sea in ships.  Is that such a terrible image?

The full article can be read here.

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