Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus


Department or School/College

Environmental Studies

Committee Chair

Phil Condon

Commitee Members

Dan Spencer, Judy Blunt


Alaska, commercial fishing, extractive industry, salmon


University of Montana

Subject Categories



This work traces the narrative arc of the author’s first summer of commercial salmon fishing in the remote seascape of Chignik, Alaska. In the move from inexperienced greenhorn to full-fledged deckhand, themes of competence, belonging, and masculinity are explored against the unique geography of the far-northern coast. Alaska’s title of “the last frontier” is both disputed and affirmed by the distinct characters who inhabit the world of commercial fishing, from lifelong fishermen to seasonal college students to families who live and work together on the same boat. Underlying scene and story is an inquiry into the value of resource extraction that is based in place, that requires both an intimate knowledge of the natural world and a willingness to destroy it. Coming to terms with that fraught space is the narrator’s difficult but ultimately worthy task.

This record is only available
to users affiliated with
the University of Montana.

Request Access



© Copyright 2017 Peter Gurche