Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Research study of commercial fishermen and PFDs

Batten down the hatches, there is a storm is a brewing! Research shows that commercial fishing is a dangerous occupation and the most hazardous job in the US and UK (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011; Maritime Coastguard Agency, 2007). Vessels sinking causes the most fatalities followed by falling overboard (Case, Lincoln, & Lucas, 2018). According to Case and colleagues (2018) nearly 100% of the time, victims found are not wearing any sort of life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD). The is no shortage of research stating these statistics. However, there is a shortage of research stating why fishermen are not wearing PFDs at sea. This study aims to fill that gap by understanding fishermen’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors in general and in regards to wearing PFDs at sea.

IF YOU HAVE COMMERCIALLY/PROFESSIONALLY FISHED IN THE PAST YEAR, please take moment to fill out my survey here: PDF Survey
Feel free to share this link with other fisherfolks. Thanks!!

Photo courtesy of Fish Safety Foundation

A bit about me. I started commercial fishing in Alaska in the fall of 1992, a 24-hour halibut derby. You can read all about that experience, complete with photos, here: Halibut Derby. Following the compass over the next decade or two are cycles of fishing and schooling. Fishing for salmon, halibut and herring all over Alaska, buying my own boat and slaying Copper River Reds and Kings, anchoring down in Anchorage for a BS in Outdoor Studies and a MSc in Counselling Psychology, then back to catching salmon for a few more years. Later, crossing the pond for a PhD.

Currently, I am a PhD Researcher at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Generally, I study personality and work and organizational psychology. In other words, I study the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of employees at work. This specific research study is on commercial or professional fishermen, their personality and habits of wearing a PFD at sea. They say to research what you know!

This study in particular has gotten quite of bit of attention. Many of you have asked about me, the study and the results so I wanted to make one centralized location where all of these topics can be addressed as well as make one central place to have an ongoing conversation regarding PFD use while commercial fishing. Check back here from time to time to get updates regarding this study. Results will be posted here as well, but keep in mind academia moves at glacial speed so it might be summer 0f 2019.

If you have any comments please email me at: or follow me on Twitter @PickfishJen 

Good fishing and stay safe!

Jen Pickett

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Pickett in the Press

While I am on this academic hiatus, you can still keep up with me! Below is a collection of press coverage I have received in the past few years plus links to articles I have written. As you know, I've been bucking tide - known as earning a PhD. Of course, with most challenges I've taken on in my life, I couldn't just do a normal PhD. Oh no! I am doing a double PhD abroad, in two different countries - Finland and Belgium. (Insert face palm or eye roll emoji here.) (Why do I do these things to myself?) Anyway, this is a 5-year journey  but good news, I am in my final year!! !  !! The count down has begun. Ten more months to go.  Yippee. 

What am I studying? Right, I forgot to mention that part. I am in the field of work and organizational psychology. What am I studying? Right, in English. I look at the wellbeing of employees. In a nut shell. What area of expertise am I inching towards? Maritime Psychology. What is that? The study of human behavior at sea. In yet another nut shell. I've submitted an article on that topic for peer-review in a scientific journal in August. Am waiting (ever so patiently) to see if it gets accepted for publication. As you can see, it's pretty slow going, academia is an unhurried machine. I'll keep you updated with my research. Until now, there really hasn't been anything to report other than conference presentations and rejections. Though now with the end of the PhD season in sight, I'll be checking in a bit more often with interesting developments that are tied to fishing. 

Until then, 
Best fishes! 



National Fishermen (Feb. 14, 2019). Fishermen's Flock

Flipboard (March 20, 2018). Fisherpoets Gathering: 21 years of great story telling

National Fisherman (June 28, 2018). Language alive: Fisherpoets celebrates 21 years storytelling.

BBC Cornwall Radio (Aug. 28, 2017). Interviewed for digital Documentary. Fisherwomen. The lives of women who go to sea and consider themselves to be ‘all in the same boat’.

Copper River Prince William Sound Marketing Association (June 21, 2017). Interviewed for promotional video for Copper River and Prince William Sound Salmon.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. (June, 2016). Value. Poem featured in exhibit titled Our Oceanin Turbine Hall, Portland (USA).

The Daily Astorian (March 2, 2015). Packed to the gills with poets: Salty wordsmiths wash up in Astoria for Fisherpoets. 

In the Tote (present). Blog featuring Fisherpoets

Oregon Live (June 18, 2014). Jenn Pickett of Cordova, Alaska: Astoria Fisher Poets flashback.

Oregon Live (Feb 16, 2013). Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria features these six salty poets of the sea.

Riverfront times (June 21, 2012). Rock Bottom Copper River Sockeye Salmon Prices Put Gut Check in the Red.

PBS-Food (April 23, 2012). Interview for Kitchen Careers: Jen Pickett, Commercial Fisherman.

Oregon Artswatch (March 12, 2012). Celebrating Work: The Astoria Fisher Poets Gathering.

Alaska Job Finder (2012). Fishing the Copper River Flats Interview.

Alaska Journal of Commerce (Sept. 19th, 2011). Fishermen gather to share poems, inspiration.

The Newsminer (Sept. 18, 2011). Alaska fishermen gather to share poems, inspiration.

National Fisherman (May, 2011). Winter’s chill can’t keep Fisher Poet fans away.

PUBLICATIONS written by Jen

National Fisherman (July, 2018). Fisherpoets at a glance.

Anchored in Deep Water: The Fisherpoet Anthology (2014). A fisherman’s commute; Waiting

Copper River Dock Talk: News from the Fishery (June 5, 2013). Crazy Season Start

Alaska Waypoints (May 16, 2013) Tailor made forecast for the first Copper River opener

Copper River Dock Talk: News from the Fishery (May 15, 2013). Tailor made forecast for the first Copper River opener

Copper River Dock Talk: News from the Fishery (May 14, 2013). Cordova’s Sometimes Annual Fisher Poets

Copper River Dock Talk: News from the Fishery (May 6, 2013). ‘Twas the week before fishing

Alaska Waypoints  (2012). The Pic & The Pen. ALCAN 2012

The Cordova Times (June 15, 2012) Docklines Scuttlebutt and boats of the harbor. F/V Pasak, original and one of a kind




Tuesday, December 11, 2018

PickFish is on Anchor until fall of 2019

Howdy all Pickfish followers!

It seems I have been under the radar for some time now and will continue to be for a little while longer.

I'm anchored down, not in Anchorage (Michelle Shocked, anyone?) but in Brussels  finishing my dissertation. I'm looking to pull the hook about fall, 2019.  Until then!

Best fishes,

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It's THIS weekend!

It's THIS weekend!  The 18th Annual Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria, Oregon!

Me reading in Cannon Beach, 2013

This is going to be a short post because I have a plane to Oregon to catch.  I'll be performing a handful of times this weekend AND will be live on the radio Saturday night about 8:45 (ish).  You can tune into KMUN at and stream live!

Friday 4-5 open mic at the Voodoo Room

Friday at Fort George's Lovell Showroom about 6:30 with my fishing buddy Emily Springer. 

Saturday at KALA at 2:55 for a 5 minute read from the  Anchored in Deep Water, the Fisher Poets Anthology.

Saturday night at 8:45 at the Astoria Event Center and KMUN.

Sunday 10-noon at the Astoria Even Center's farewell open mic

Sunday 4-6 at Cannon Beach Art Association Gallery

You can find the complete schedule of events here at

Here is a great read about Fisher Poets in Oregon Live online.  They even feature one of my poems!

And here is what Coast Explore Magazine has to say about us:

Reading at the Astoria Event Center, 2013

I look forward to seeing you in Astoria!

I'm out.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

18th Annual Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria Oregon, February 27 to March 1, 2015

2013 Fisher Poets 

Time to set the net!  The 2015 Fisher Poets Gathering is almost here!  This is the 18th annual Fisher Poets Gathering set in beautiful downtown Astoria, Oregon, February 27th until March 1st.  And, hey ya, if you are looking at me, you are looking at one of this year's performers!  This will be my 4th FPs and I can't wait!  I've been working hard on my polishing up my fish tales. 

Folks, we got quite aline up this year, the deck is awash is poets. Some 85 participants will be at the helm this year.  That may even be a record run!

Dave Densmore  2013 (photo by Jen Pickett)
You can check out the cast here at their very own website:

Dennis McGuire 2013 (photo by Jen Pickett)

I had to give it a miss last year, I was dog-sitting in England.  But will be there will bells on this year!  Even if I do have do come all the way from Finland.  Its worth it to see all my fishin' buddies again and hear their song, poems and stories.

Ron McDaniel, Jen Pickett, and Steve Schoonmaker

As one fan says, "there is something in the FPs that cannot be described in clear words.
I've got a deep appreciation towards fishermen and fisherwomen..."  So come see for yourself!
I'm having a hard time describing FPs gathering here... a bit at a loss for words, other than it is totally awesome.  Let's take a look at how their web site describes it:

Expect performances from scores of fisherpoets Friday and Saturday nights and lots of company. Saturday morning we'll have writing and issues-related workshops, tours of old canneries and working fishing boats.  Saturday afternoon we'll have film at the Columbian Theater and our Story Circle at the Astoria Event Center.  Our bookstore, the Gearshack, will be open all weekend for fans to check out their favorite fisherpoets' books and cds or to bid on silent auction items or to sit on on the occasional musicians' jams there.  Stay late for the annual Poetry Contest finale and for open mic and for dancing.  Sunday morning we'll say "farewell" at the Astoria Event Center with a little Gospel sing just for fun followed by something very short from those what want to.

Jay Speakman & Jon Broderick, the grandfathers of FPs
Ok, that didn't help, did it.? But it gives you and idea of the opener... I mean schedule.  Let's see if I can get this off the reel without a goes. The FPs gathering is a weekend of celebration by those who make their living on the sea.  There are songs, poems, and stories, all original works, all straight from their salty hearts, written by those who have slayed at least one fish for money.  We laugh, we cry, we laugh some more.  Its a grand time.  Check a bit out for yourself and have a looksy at different folks in the act:

But to really savor the flavor, which is as rich as King Salmon, you have to see it for yourself.  Hope to see you in Astoria!

Ron McDaniel & Carey Jones  (photo by Jen Pickett)

I'm out.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Salmon Appetizers

Looking for a way to spice up Thanksgiving this year?  How about adding a little salmon into your Thanksgiving Dinner this year!  Well look no further!  Below I have two of my favorite recipes that are 1) easy to make, 2) can be made a few days ahead, 3)  great crowd pleasers and 4) super delicious!

Copper River smoked salmon dip

  • 1 can/jar of Smoked Copper River Red Salmon
  • 1-2 packages of cream cheese (or Neufchâtel cheese which I prefer because it is softer and has less fat)
  • 1/2 C milk (or 1/2 & 1/2, which is even better.  Even better yet is heavy cream, just a splash will add richness to the flavor.)
  • 1 T red onion, very finely sliced
  • 1 T capers
  • In a double boiler, melt cream cheese until soft.   Mix together milk (or 1/2 & 1/2), red onion  and cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese until smooth.
  • Add salmon and stir until salmon is all mixed together.  
  • Add capers and gently fold them in, careful not to break them.
  • Serve with crackers.

Smoked salmon deviled eggs

Make your favorite deviled eggs recipe.
Add 1-2 teaspoons of Wasabi and 1 tablespoon smoked salmon to the yokes. Don't worry, the Wasabi will mellow with the mayonaise and just be a nice flavor with a small kick.
Finish as usual.
Yum yum in the tum tums. (The best part about this recipe is not only is it super tasty but you don't have to share too much of your smoked salmon! A little goes a long way)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 14, 2014

PickFishes' Copper River Smoked Salmon Chowder Recipe

PickFishes’ Copper River Smoked Salmon Chowder


4 slices bacon
1 carrot
1-2 stalks celery (optional)
1 -2 small onion
1-2 cloves garlic
6-8 small potatoes, pealed
¼ cup flour
2 Tablespoon butter
4-6 cups stock (I used home made chicken stock)
1-cup corn (I used frozen)
6-8 ounces Smoked Copper River Salmon
½-1 pint heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

I’ve learned over the years of cooking on a boat, life is just infinitely easier if you just prep absolutely everything you are going to need to prepare a meal before hand.
Because, inevitably, there will be some surprise come up while cooking.  Either another boat runs by and wakes you, the skipper decides he has to run the net just as your pot starts to boil and you have to grab it before boiling spaghetti water goes flying all over the cabin getting everyone nice 2nd degree burns, or its just rough enough that you have to hold on while you are cooking (which means you will have to hold the pot while its cooking). If you are like me and only have two hands, its impossible to hold the pot and chop something at the same time, or  (and this is my personal favorite) even though the skipper knows you are cooking a meal, he decides the net needs to be picked right this very second and the whole meal gets put on hold.  For whatever reason, I just like to have everything ready before I begin.  But, you can do whatever you would like to do.  This recipe is just a guideline.  Actually, as some of you may know, I personally can’t seem to follow a recipe to save my life, which is how I came up with this recipe.  I don’t know why, (maybe I just have a problem with authority) or I just don’t have all the ingredients so I substitute (again, boat life means you sort of have to work with what you have since running to the store usually isn’t an option), or I don’t like an ingredient so I leave it out, or (which just happened with this recipe) after going to three different stores, I gave up looking for celery so I left it out.  Anyway, I digress.  This recipe here is a combination of four different recipes that I found for smoked salmon chowder.  Well, actually, three different recipes for smoked salmon chowder and I followed part of the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for “Perfect Potato Soup”.  (Thanks Pioneer Woman!)  So feel free to follow it or use it as a guideline, up to you. Ok, here we go.

·      Peel potatoes and cube into small pieces (otherwise they take forever to cook)
·      Dice onions, carrot, celery (optional) into small pieces
·      Peel garlic and either slice it into very small pieces or get it ready for the garlic press, which is what I did
·      Slice bacon into small cubes
·      Measure out ¼ cup flour
·      Measure out about 1 cup of corn

Ok.  I’m a little afraid of your judgment when I tell you the first step so I’m going to defend myself right now.  As I mentioned I’m in Finland for the winter at latitude 62.24.  Its mid November and it is already cold and dark.  My body wants FAT!  So, if you are concerned about your fat intake you can adjust the first step to your liking but if you are in the mood for hearty chowder, then I’m giving you permission to follow this recipe to a “T”.  And, for the record, this first part is part of one of the recipes I found and followed.  So, don’t shoot the messenger.  Ok, here we go.  Again.

In heavy soup pot on medium high heat, melt your 2 Tablespoons butter, add bacon.  Yes, this recipe calls for cooking bacon in butter.   Yum. You know this is going to be good.  Besides, the goodness of the salmon should counteract the badness of bacon cooked in butter.  I think.

·      Cook bacon until mostly brown, about 2-3 minutes.
·      Add onion, carrot, and your optional celery.
·      Cook until onions are near translucent, about another 2-3 minutes.
·      Then add your potatoes and salt to your liking.  Cook this bacon, onion, carrot, optional celery,   potato and salt combination about 4 or 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
·      Add garlic, stir. 
·      Add pepper to your liking.
·      Sprinkle on ¼ cup flour and stir, making a quick roux.
·      After the flour is all mixed in, add your chicken stock, about 4-6 cups. 
·      Stir and turn heat down to about a low-medium.
·      Add your cup of corn
·      Open your 6-8 ounce package of smoked salmon and pour the oil from the salmon into the soup.  Then dump salmon onto a cutting board and cut into small pea sized pieces.
·      Add smoked salmon to soup, go ahead and throw in all the skin and oil.  Its good for you.
·      Stir and let simmer about 5 minutes or until your potatoes are fully cooked.  Once the potatoes are fully cooked, you can add the cream.
·      Then add your ½ -1 pint heavy cream.  Stir. (I used ½ pint and it was plenty rich and creamy.  Feel free to substitute milk or a combination of heavy cream and milk, but with the bacon and the butter, does it really matter at this point?)
·      Turn down heat to low, you don’t want the soup to scorch or the cream to separate.
·      Serve and enjoy!

Let me know how you like this recipe, how it came out for you, or if you made any changes!