Esther Ilutsik | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Esther Ilutsik is the Director for Yup’ik Studies for the Southwest Region Schools in Dillingham, Alaska. She learned to set net fish as a child and commercial fished throughout her life at her family’s fish camp in Ekuk. In this interview Esther recounts her experiences of fishing with her mother and the social and environmental changes she has observed in Ekuk. This interview was conducted by NOAA Fisheries Alaska Fisheries Science Center in partnership with Bristol Bay Native Association as part of the Women of Alaska Fisheries oral history project.

It’s who we are: Voices of Alaska Native women set-netters. Anna Lavoie, Kim Sparks, Jean Lee (Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission), and Sarah Wise (NOAA Fisheries, Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC). 2018. Support provided by Bristol Bay Native Association. Funding provided by the NOAA Heritage Program (formerly the NOAA Preserve America Initiative) and AFSC. Interviews are accessed on NOAA's Voices from the Fisheries website at

Permission to use these materials must be obtained from NOAA’s Voices Oral History Archives at

Voices Oral History Archives does not verify the accuracy of materials submitted to us. The opinions expressed in the interviews are those of the interviewee only. The interviews here have been made available to the public only after the interviewer has confirmed that they have obtained consent.