eric jordan, f/v i gotta
For Eric Jordan, fishing has always been a family-oriented way of life, with his earliest experience at only 6 months old. Eric first hit the seas of Southeast Alaska with his parents aboard the F/V Salty, and has spent the majority of his life (so far) fishing and advocating for the fisheries of Southeast.
As a boy, Eric trolled with his parents and three younger sisters aboard the F/V Nohusit, a 44’ cabin cruiser-troller. As a teenager, he crewed on a seiner and went on to fund his own college education, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oregon. In 1974, Eric bought and ran a hand troller, eventually upgrading to a power troller. In 1987, Eric purchased the F/V I Gotta, a fiberglass troller that had originally been built and fished by his parents. And in keeping with the family-oriented fishing tradition, Eric and his wife, Sarah, have fished that boat ever since, trolling Southeast for salmon while raising their two sons, Karl and Kris, and working on fisheries advocacy.
Eric helped start several fisheries policy organizations over the years. He has also held positions on fishery boards and task management forces. He believes involvement in protecting the long-term sustainability of the fisheries is as crucial as boat maintenance. Eric is a longstanding member of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and the Fishery Conservation Network, and often speaks at the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit, an annual networking and learning event designed for fishermen 40 years and younger. Eric has been a member of the Seafood Producers Cooperative since the late 1990s, as he feels that long-term investment is beneficial. In his spare time, he works on the ergonomics and safety aspects of fishing. He and son Karl team up with Jerry Dzugan and the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association to develop systems that minimize strains, relieve repetitive motion aches, and ensure basic safety.
With all of Eric’s work as a fisheries advocate and fishing ergonomics, there doesn’t seem to be much down time, or time for actual fishing, but Eric and Sarah are on the water fairly consistently from April through October each year. The F/V I Gotta often trolls in the same area as son Karl’s boat, the F/V Saturday, continuing the family tradition of working together. And what is the driving passion to keep at it? Eric says it’s a love of the challenge of finding and getting salmon to bite, and the satisfaction of producing high quality salmon for food. The F/V I Gotta is simply an extension of home.
Story: Ashia Lane