Mark Young | North Pole
Assistant Professor of Applied Business;
Owner/Operator, Alaska Marine Guides

Before coming to Alaska in 1994, Mark Young spent most of his life in the southern part of the United States where salmon were not a highly prized fish, let alone an understood fish. Fast forward 24 years: not only have salmon become a staple of his family's diet, but Young has guided salmon in the saltwater for over ten years.  In 2009, Young was admitted into the B.A. in Fisheries program at UAF, which introduced him to the human dimension side of fisheries and allowed him to use his previous education and knowledge in business and guiding.  This transformation from ‘cheechako’ to full-on salmon ‘afishionado’ is a unique perspective that Young brings to Alaska Salmon Fellows.

“I have found the best way to advance a cause is to be a strong advocate,” Young says. And he leads by example, educating all who will hear about the ways of the salmon and of a mutually beneficial human-salmon co-existence. To him, the salmon and associated human traditions that connect them is a driving force in his life’s purpose. It is his mantra. Young teaches audiences the importance of conservation and the many ways to interact with salmon and how to respect all sportfish at seminars at Fairbanks Outdoors sport show each year.  He offers invaluable skillsets from a saltwater sportfishing and naturalist perspective; a unique, big-picture perspective. And while he advocates for the fish, he also campaigns for the environment that helps to form and mold the salmon.

In salmon guiding he has a captive crew, as they are stuck on the boat for eight hours. “Of course, fishin’ is the mission,” Young says; however, they are indoctrinated on the biology, ecology, management and yes, even the politics of fisheries.”

Young has written articles for sporting journals that are not your typical fishing techniques article, but rather non-traditional ways of thinking. He served on the original Catch Accountability Through Compensated Halibut (CATCH) that has morphed into the Recreational Quota Entity. For two years he sat on the Every Halibut Counts committee, providing insight from the guided halibut sector.  Young sees Alaska Salmon Fellows is an opportunity to continue to learn, grow, and give back.