Aaron Longton: Co-Founder of Port Orford Sustainable Seafood and Longtime Fisherman and owner/operator of the F/V Golden Eye
Introducing Aaron Longton; fisherman, hippie bluegrass rock aficionado, and “Boaterhome” owner hopeful. Aaron started fishing as soon as he was able to hold a rod. He grew up in Roseburg, Oregon playing on the Umpqua River Basins, but has been living in Port Orford for twenty-three years now. A commercial fisherman of twenty years, he hopes to one day have the next generation take over his 3rd F/V, The Goldeneye. The son of a Navy Man and riverboat manufacturer, it is safe to say that he grew up on the water. A ‘Jack of all Trades’ kind of person he worked his way up learning skills from influential late Fisherman, Scott Boley.
While salmon is his favorite species to fish for, being the anadromous silver bullets they are, he fishes for anything with a fin. Unlike most fishermen, Aaron considers himself a “fairweather fishermen” fishing smarter not harder. He says the “more difficult part of fishing is the ability to think like a fish.” He feels the study of the vocation itself is multifaceted and you have to take the environment, economics, and biology into the facts. With Global Warming rearing its head he tries to remember the ever-constant rise and fall of the ocean like the waves and tides. There has always been a rise and fall in species, but now the swing nearshore is more severe. With all of the environmental and economic factors affecting the fishing industry Aaron never gives up hope. His stewardship has no doubt helped the increasing amount of spawning rockfish in the area. This is in part due to the creation of the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve, which Aaron and a small group of other local fishermen helped create. He is proactive in prolonging and helping the species continue to thrive. In doing so, creating this Marine Reserve, the whole fishing fleet of Port Orford gave up twenty percent of the nearshore habitat. So, essentially they all gave up twenty percent of their revenue all because people like Aaron felt it necessary to conserve a precious and valuable resource for the greater good of the ocean and the fishery. Aaron views fishing in a more holistic approach and takes a grandiose amount of pride in what he does and how he can create and continue to better stewardship and accountability in the community.
When asked what he does for fun? or if he goes on vacation? He said, “I guess I love my job… why would I go do anything else?!” People like Aaron make it possible to enjoy a quality product so putting a face with the name is just a start. We choose to delve deeper and share Fishermen’s stories in order to continue our thanks for what they do.