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Anchoring the Family: The Life, Labor and Love of an Alaskan Fishing Mom

On the rugged coast of southern Alaska, where icy waters provide hope for a rich season, the Brown family have woven their lives into the fabric of their small fishing community.

e, Kinsey and their daughter, Odette, in front of their fishing vessel Lucid Dream

It’s called a labor of love for a reason.

A life in fishing - especially in Alaska - can be equally rough and rewarding, spending days at sea where the wonders of the world take shape in glacial ridges and splashes of fish slipping over each other on deck. What you don’t always see is the effort, will, patience and passion of the people caring for those on the water from behind the shoreline.

On the rugged coast of southern Alaska, where icy waters provide hope for a rich season, Kinsey Brown and her husband, Zeke, have woven their lives into the fabric of their small fishing community. It’s been said countless times by dedicated seafood harvesters across the globe that fishing is more than a livelihood. It's a calling, community and a legacy that nearly all who fish hope to pass down to the newest generations of their fishing families.


Kinsey’s journey into fisheries began with a drive to pursue a life in the seafood industry after years of study and work in programs that support healthy oceans. She didn’t grow up in Alaska, but knew she wanted to work with salmon. The restless desire that only a life on – or near – the sea can inspire, prompted Kinsey to move to Cordova. It’s a place Kinsey admits that she once would have struggled to place it on a map. But now? Now it holds her entire life.

“The draw for me is similar to what a lot of people come here later in life to experience,” Kinsey said. “It’s adventure incarnate.”

When Kinsey and Zeke first started dating, they fished together, kicking off their relationship with a shared passion and testing their mettle in times that required trust and teamwork. Since neither of them grew up in a fishing family, they’re building their own the same way – as a team.

I’m proud to be a fisherman’s wife.

So Much More than Shore Support

For Kinsey, the strength of the fishing family and community lies in its unity. It’s a community where relying on others, and having others rely on you, is a necessity. Whether that means she’s helping on shore when Zeke is out, or they’re working on the boat together, they’ve always had each other's backs.

“I’m proud to be a fisherman’s wife,” she said. “I’m shore support for the boat, staying home with our little girl, and that is important in a whole other way than what Zeke is doing out on the water.”

Kinsey and Zeke Brown holding their daughter, Odette, on the dock in Cordova, AK.

Photo: Kinsey and Zeke Brown holding their daughter, Odette, on the dock in Cordova, AK.

The significance of partners as shore support cannot be overstated. While fishermen brave unpredictable waters, in many families their partners manage the household, maintain communication and provide steady support from afar. In many cases, they are also central to the business side of fishing operations by handling administration, managing finances and coordinating the smooth operation of their enterprise. To other spouses or significant others in fishing families, Kinsey offers a message of empowerment.

“Being on the boat is only one aspect of being a fisherman,” she said. “We have so much to offer and contribute to the world of healthy fisheries and our communities.”

But it's not just about the practicalities.

“I’m also there for emotional and mental support when he comes back home and just needs to decompress,” she added. “Trident has been really supportive of me being on shore some seasons and always helping me send a care package out to the fishing grounds or hitch a ride on a tender to visit Zeke on the days between openers.”

Whether Zeke is on or off the water, Kinsey’s support and steadfast encouragement nurtures and strengthens their relationship and growing family. But it’s not all work, and in the rhythm of fishing life there are plenty of times that call for fun and festivity.

“Ever since we started dating, Zeke has brought me home the largest fish he could for my birthday!”

To mark the first salmon harvest of the year, the couple have a tradition. They host a BBQ and celebrate with neighbors and friends. But they also make it a point to share quieter moments of celebration together, usually over hot toddies in the tophouse after a day’s work.

A Fishing Family of Two Becomes a Fishing Family of Three

With the arrival of their daughter last year, Mother's Day has taken on a new meaning for Kinsey. She’s pulling double duty now, and her experience navigating the fishing industry while raising a little one will no doubt resonate with mom’s and wives – as well as dads – around the world who share similar joys and struggles.

Their first year as a family of three has been filled with the awe-inspiring, joyful – and of course messy – eye openers that come with parenthood. And it has been challenging for Zeke, who is on the water while the family is at home. He worries that he’s missing out on milestones.

Leave it to Kinsey to put things in perspective.

“What he’s doing out there makes our entire life possible,” she said.

At the end of the day, it’s a tradeoff that they’ve both determined is worth it, and the intense months of hard work don’t come without a payoff: they have an off season where they get to focus on nothing but their family.

A Future for Their Daughter

To keep the family connected while her husband is away, Kinsey sends videos and pictures, catches moments with him on the phone and tells him every little thing their baby girl is doing. It’s a reminder that even the toughest days are worth it.

“Becoming parents has deepened our commitments to our community and to our fishing business, Kinsey said. “We see a future for our daughter in it if she chooses.”

Photo: Zeke Brown runs hydros while a load of salmon comes aboard.

Photo: Zeke Brown runs hydros while a load of salmon comes aboard.

During times they’re apart, Kinsey leans into her newly forged friendships in and around Cordova. For example, during the first season Zeke was away, she connected and formed a bond with another young mother.

"Without each other, I don't think we’d have gotten through that first summer,” she said. “Whenever one of us needed support while our partners were away, we knew we could call each other. We had a similar understanding and were able to share in the struggles and joys of being a new fishing family.”

Amidst the million to-dos, Kinsey prioritizes self-care and personal time. With an abundance of projects and passions, she’s learned to look forward to fostering her own autonomy and experiencing opportunities for herself.

“It truly feels that distance makes the heart grow fonder and when he comes home, we have lots to catch up on and share about what each of us did individually.”

Thanks to the long Alaskan summer days, she often finds time for a lay in the sunshine or a bath at home after a long workday.

“I maintain a solid routine that relies on little moments of curated joy,” she shared. “It's essential to nurture oneself amidst the demands of our lifestyle.”

It’s the ‘work with what you’ve got’ mindset of gratitude for the little joys and appreciation for the greater gifts that Kinsey hopes to instill in her daughter as she grows.

View from the wheelhouse of the F/V Lucid Dream.

Photo: View from the wheelhouse of the F/V Lucid Dream.

Witnessing the Fruits of Their Labor

As part of a fishing family, Kinsey finds fulfillment in nourishing her community, and becoming a parent has only strengthened that.

“Being a food producer and seeing people in my community, and afar, being fed after our hard work makes it all worth it,” she said. "Food is a powerful tool for building connections. I love getting to see the fruits of our labor so directly."

Trident has played a hugely supportive role in Kinsey and Zeke's livelihood as fishermen.

"Trident has been a reliable processor for us. I know I can count on them to keep up the quality we worked for."

And with the abundance of seafood available at their doorstep, their daughter gets to grow up tasting the freshest, cleanest fish in the world, and learn to appreciate the passion and care that goes into acquiring it.

Caring for their family, their business, and the health of their fisheries all comes back tenfold to the community and to each other again and again. Kinsey hopes that growing up in a fishing family, her daughter will learn and share those values, and to look towards the future with bright optimism.

“For someone who didn’t grow up in a fishing family choosing this lifestyle...changed my life permanently and forever, and I could not be happier.”

Learn more about Trident's Family of Fishermen, and explore a variety of careers at Trident Seafoods that support our family of fishermen by joining our team.