The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) aired its first episode of the highly anticipated second season of Fish of the Week! on Monday, January 10, 2022. The scope of the show has been expanded in the second season from a focus on the fish of Alaska to cover fish from across the United States. A new episode will be aired every Monday throughout the year.
The Alaska Region of Service launched the podcast in January of 2021 as a part of a year-long tribute to its 150 years of fisheries conservation. Over the course of the year, the show took its devoted listeners on a tour of Alaska’s amazing aquatic diversity, from salmon to sculpins to sturgeon and beyond. Unlike any other show about fish or fisheries, it took a holistic approach to discussing these animals with guests that included Indigenous peoples, researchers, fisheries managers, anglers, and other fish enthusiasts. The show has something of interest to a wide variety of listeners, with conversations that are brisk and entertaining but also remarkably in-depth, covering everything from fish anatomy and lifecycles to techniques for watching, catching and even cooking and eating them.
“Fish was and still is a major food source that we depend on for survival,” said Joanne Bryant, Gwichʼin Athabaskan, and a Service employee who grew up in Arctic Village and was a guest on one of the episodes in 2021 about Arctic graying. She described the cultural practices of making bags from fish skins and using the fish’s throat as a hook to catch other fish. After she shared her fondest memory of going ice fishing for Arctic grayling with her grandpa David, Bryant left listeners with a final thought: “If you could be fishing with your grandpa and have similar memories that would be super.”
Katrina Liebich, who has a doctorate in the science of fish and wildlands management and works as a Digital Media Manager for the Service in Anchorage, serves as host along with Guy Eroh, a consulting fish biologist who has worked nationwide. Both are avid anglers as well as experts in fish biology, true “fish nerds,” and their genuine enthusiasm for fishes of all kinds shines through in every episode.
Liebich and Eroh are excited to be expanding the show’s scope beyond Alaska, exploring and discussing amazing fish from all around the country. “We’re going to continue to elevate a lot of different voices and perspectives to illustrate how fish bring us together and enrich our lives,” says Liebich. “Our guests really help us dig into local and Indigenous cultures, fishing techniques, and ways of preparing fish to eat. I’m excited to learn those different ways of knowing and doing, and about all the amazing diversity of fish that can be found across America.”
What can listeners expect for this year? Early episodes will include amazing species like pirate perch, a fish with an oddly placed orifice and sea lamprey, a prehistoric, parasitic fish with a nuanced history in the United States. And that’s just the beginning. “I am most excited to get to talk about some of the southeastern fishes,” added Eroh. “I did my fisheries training in Georgia and some of the species I got to see in the piedmont and the mountains there are unlike the fishes I’ve seen anywhere else.”
The Service’s production partner for the Fish of the Week series is CitizenRacecar.
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