Fish Fighters: Anne Mosness
“I went as a lark for three weeks to Alaska and I actually loved it,” Anne explained. She fished salmon on her own for many years, returning to fish with her father as he grew older. During 28 years at sea, Anne sometimes brought her children along with her.
“My 10-year-old son was on the boat when my father was 80,” Anne recalled. “It was so wonderful to hear my father tell my son his stories and to pass on the skills and the values and the traditions of fishing and life. It was one of the most wonderful times of my life.” In the 1980s, Anne became president of the Women’s Maritime Association, where she fought for criminal penalties and reporting procedures in cases of rape and assault at sea.
Then, as Anne saw commercial fishing threatened by industrial salmon production, she developed the “Go Wild Campaign,” educating consumers about the benefits of wild salmon. Highlighting the risk of the dye in farmed salmon to chemical-sensitive consumers, she successfully sued for the enforcement of laws that required farmed fish to be labeled as containing artificial colorants.
Now, Anne works in cooperation with commercial, tribal and sport fishermen and conservationists from around the world against industrial fish farming, offshore drilling and open pit mining. For inspiration, Anne thinks of her friends in remote and indigenous communities she got to know while fishing in Bristol Bay.
“Those are vibrant little communities, and the people have existed on the salmon populations for thousands and thousands of years. I remember them when I do the work that Im doing because it would end their whole culture if a 1700 foot deep open pit mine using arsenic and cyanide to take out gold and copper was allowed in the headwaters of the region where last summer 43 million sockeye returned to Bristol Bay.”