February 1, 2010

Update...Hatteras seafood dealer
makes it  to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Hatteras seafood dealer Jeff Aiken reached the Mt. Kilimanjaro summit Friday afternoon, Jan 29.  In an interview before he began the week long climb, Aiken said he wanted to use the opportunity to raise public awareness about the challenges facing commercial fishing families and to raise funds for Commercial Fishermen of America, a coalition of organizations that support commercial fishing and promote healthy oceans.  More information about the organization is available at www.cfafish.org.


January 20, 2010

Hatteras seafood dealer aims to scale Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa


Hatteras seafood dealer Jeff Aiken will be leaving the lowlands later this month to scale Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak and the world’s tallest free-standing peak.

“I guess it’s a ‘bucket list’ sort of adventure for me,” Aiken, 58, said.

Fulfilling a personal dream is not Aiken’s only motivation for climbing the 19,340 foot peak in Tanzania though.

He will be carrying a banner from Commercial Fishermen of America to display when he reaches the summit.

“The public hears a lot of information about overfishing and the need for conservation, but I don’t think they hear enough about what is happening to the families that harvest seafood.  I hope to help draw attention to that part of the story with this climb,” Aiken said.

He said family fishing fleets are rapidly disappearing from U.S. docks and ports under the weight of an unfriendly regulatory environment.

Commercial Fishermen of America is a coalition of organizations that support commercial fishermen and promote healthy oceans.

Aiken hopes people will join him in supporting the cause by donating to the coalition anything from a penny to a dollar for every foot he successfully climbs.

Aiken said his experiences hiking the Appalachian Trail when he was younger made the idea of climbing Kilimanjaro with a long-time friend instantly appealing.

He has been training for several months.  Training includes carrying weights while climbing the stairs of the 37 story tall building in Virginia Beach where he and his wife own a condo. 

“I’ve been training pretty vigorously, and the guide service we’ll be using does everything possible to make sure guys like me don’t get hurt,” Aiken said.

Still, he admitted that the big unknown is how he will react to the altitude.

Most people climbing Kilimanjaro experience some degree of altitude sickness, and suffer some discomfort, such as headaches or vomiting.

More severe reactions can also occur, resulting in treks cut short.

Persons wishing to support Aiken’s cause can send pledged donations directly to Commercial Fishermen of America, c/o Maryland Watermen’s Association, P.O. Box 436, Chester, MD 21619. 

Aiken is paying all of his own expenses associated with the climb, and any donations will go entirely to Commercial Fishermen of America.

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