A fishery built on tradition.
Ryan Horwath grew up in Rochester, NY and now lives in Buffalo with his partner and daughter. When he's not in upstate New York, he's on a small boat jigging for cod and rockfish in the pristine waters off Kodiak, Alaska.
He and his dad, Joe, moved to Kodiak in October 2003 to continue his family's fishing tradition, taking the reins of his Uncle Steve's fishing business after a sudden accident took his life. Uncle Steve was the legend who first introduced Ryan to Alaska and the joys of fishing. He fished King Crab in the 1970s and his deckhands adored him. It was Steve who brought the Pacific Cloud to Alaska's Dutch Harbor to jig cod—and the rest is, as they say, history.
Ryan felt compelled to leave his “ordinary” life behind and venture into the world of commercial fishing. Now, more than a decade later, fishing has become his passion! Being self-taught, he quickly learned the hard lessons, which inspired him to reach out to both novice and veteran fishermen and help them along their way.
When he’s not fishing, Ryan’s actively trying to keep opportunities alive for aspiring fishermen—and he’s deeply involved on the advocacy side, too, as an advocate for sustainable fisheries. Why?
The reason is twofold. First, as Ryan says: “My Uncle Steve came up here with nothing and was able to fish open-access fisheries. Those opportunities are closing up.” And second? The ongoing corporate consolidation and privatization of a resource that was once public.
Because he knows the importance of small, community-minded seafood companies, Ryan is a member of the Alaska Jig Association and is a board member of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance. His work helped raise the price of fish in Kodiak, Alaska so that fishermen can make a living on the Rockfish—a once-underutilized species and a favorite of Ryan’s. And through the Local Catch Network, he’s worked hard to connect members with Kodiak fishermen, adding value to their supply chains by giving underrepresented fishermen a fighting (fishing??) chance.
By the way, do you recognize the second photo? It's the inspiration for our logo! Ryan took it the first time he went fishing with Uncle Steve.