James Osga, College Intern I
Commercial Fisheries - Cordova

Photo of James Osga on sampling vessel

I am studying Fisheries and Wildlife Management at Lake Superior State University. The summer of 2013, I worked with the Division of Commercial Fisheries out of Cordova.

Throughout the summer, I was fortunate to experience many aspects of commercial fisheries management of Prince William Sound and the surrounding areas. I worked in various canneries taking samples of sockeye and Chinook salmon from the Copper River fishery as well as taking biological samples from rockfish and cod species. Throughout the summer, I was able to sample all Pacific salmon species. I had the opportunity to go and work from two different remote field camps in Prince William Sound where I assisted in setting up weirs and constructing outbuildings for the camps. I took part in the Cook Inlet and the Prince William Sound tanner crab trawl surveys and was able to see the whole process from running the hydraulics on the boat to identifying various marine organisms and taking biological samples. I participated in the Prince William Sound southwest salmon test fishery through which I was able to learn the techniques in purse seining, as well as other aspects of the project. Finally, I was able to participate in the Copper River Flats Dungeness crab pot survey which is only conducted every three years.

Photo of James Osga sampling crab

Throughout the summer I gained a valuable understanding of the importance of commercial fisheries. My case was unique in the fact I was able to sit in and hear discussions regarding important management decisions as well as going out in the field and actually collecting the data that is used for such decisions. I was able to expand my knowledge of sampling techniques throughout the summer and these techniques will play a crucial role in my future of fisheries research.

Some of the best experiences of the summer were the sights of Prince William Sound. Coming from Michigan, I do not get the scenery that I did during my summer in Alaska. I also am very impressed with the people of Cordova as I was always welcomed with a kind gesture and if anything ever came up, I felt like I could get help from the friends that I made. I appreciated the opportunity I had to work with everyone at ADF&G. Whenever I had a question about anything, someone was always willing to explain. The past summer is one that I will never forget as I learned new aspects of fisheries and met friends that I hope to stay in touch with for years to come. A couple other experiences from the summer that I will always remember would be the hiking and sport fishing trips that I went on. It seemed like there was always an opportunity to get outdoors with friends and have fun.

Photo of James Osga with salmon

This summer internship brought me much closer to my ultimate goal of one day becoming a research biologist. First of all, I was able to get an understanding of fisheries management at a very large scale. Also, I was able to get exceptional hands on experience that will give me an advantage while competing for jobs down the road. The most crucial part of the internship may have been all of the networking opportunities that I came across. I met many professionals in the field which may one day help me land a job or a graduate school position.