Marsh Skeele, a second-generation troller from Port Alexander, supplies fish for Sitka Salmon Shares.

The Alaska Food Policy Council has awarded Sitkan Marsh Skeele an Alaska Food Hero Award. Skeele is a co-founder of the successful community supported fishery, Sitka Salmon Shares.

He and his business were one of three awardees chosen from a pool of 17 nominees. Alaska Food Policy Council board member Diane Peck says they were chosen for making a sustainable impact on Alaska’s food system, strengthening the local food system and improving Alaska’s health, prosperity and self-reliance.

“Marsh and the Sitka Salmon Shares are part of many activities that advocate for sustainable fishing practices and environmental stewardship, but they’re also clearly walking the talk,” Peck said. “And they’re improving the fisheries and food systems in Alaska.”

Skeele is a second-generation fisherman who grew up fishing out of Sitka and Port Alexander. During his first season trolling on his own boat, he met co-founder of Sitka Salmon Shares Nic Mink and decided to buy into the company. It’s now one of the largest community supported fisheries in the country, and Skeele has a lot to do with that. They buy seafood from small fishermen and sell it directly to consumers around the country.

“Through fishing and building the company, I think we’ve been able to build something that I see as really the future for fishermen across Alaska and potentially other places,” Skeele said.

Skeele said he’s humbled and gratified to receive the award, and he’s proud to be part of a community of food heroes in Sitka and Alaska working to make the food system more sustainable.

Erin McKinstry is a Report for America corps member.