Date of Award



© 2022 Jared Fuller

Document Type


Degree Name

Professional Science Master's (PSM) In Ocean Food Systems


Marine Science

First Advisor

Zachary Miller-Hope

Second Advisor

Barry Antonio Costa-Pierce

Third Advisor

Rannveig Björnsdóttir


Youth career outmigration has increased in Alaska’s coastal communities in the last few decades. The ocean and ocean-adjacent industries that comprise the blue economy make up the majority of the employment options in places have experienced declines within these regions which has been attributed to the outward movement of young people. The dynamic history of Alaska has had specific impacts with regards to Alaskan coastal communities, their ocean-resource economies, and thus, the potential for young people to find career paths within them. Potential economic-resource vulnerabilities could be mapped along with the complex systems to help build resilience within those communities. Moreover, Alaska’s education and existing career programs both hint at gaps for workforce pathways. Iceland has created fisheries and aquaculture schools to help curtail these trends which could serve as an example for Alaska since they share many commonalities. The research conducted in this paper involves Alaskan community and industry subject matter experts, local businesses, and seniors in high school in coastal villages to garner insight into the potential creation of such a program. Information gathered from codified interviews and surveys of leaders and industry suggest there is a wide range of opinions regarding the current state of these communities; however all shared the belief that a youth-targeted career program would be a positive solution. The surveyed students demonstrated mixed feelings about whether or not they would participate, but do have interest in learning more about their options. Literature on Alaskan fisheries access career development suggests that generational influence and exposure may have an influence on the interest of young people which should be a key feature in program outreach. On the whole, there is a shared interest in an Alaskan “blue” career development program designed to assist young people learn more about job prospects in their coastal communities. The program should look at existing and growing opportunities, potential futures in a rapidly changing world, and meet students where they are.


Professional Science Masters Thesis

Advisors Miller-Hope and Costa-Pierce are UNE faculty members; advisor WaBjörnsdóttir is a University of Akureyri faculty member.

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