Sharing Fish Fills Bellies and Hearts

By Senior Public Relations Specialist Tara Carey

When schools of hooligan arrive in Alaska waters, Alaskans know this means we are on the cusp of summer! Hooligan fuel Alaska in many ways: food, trade, and as the main ingredient in a treasured condiment, hooligan oil. Hooligan also make a delicious gift and is one of Alaska’s many accessible fish to harvest.

In recent years, Elder customer-owners who participate in Southcentral Foundation’s Elder Program activities have gone on fishing excursions to catch hooligan, get fresh air and exercise, and visit with friends. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic limitations, Elder Program employees went fishing and shared the bounty with Elder Program participants upon request.

“This was an opportunity to go out and catch hooligan, explore Alaska, participate in subsistence, and maintain the cultural practice of supporting Elders,” said Elder Program Manager Aaron Osterback. The Elder Program also received fish from the Operation Fish Drop project that was created by Sam Schimmel, a Stanford University student and youth leader in the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians. Schimmel is originally from Alaska and is Siberian Yupik and Kenaitze Indian. Operation Fish Drop focuses on food insecurities within Alaskan Native and American Indian communities. The Elder Program delivered fresh frozen salmon to 400 Elder customer-owners residing in the Anchorage area.