Egan Maritime Institute Announces Carl Sjolund As Inaugural Recipient Of Caldwell Heritage Award

Nantucket Current •

The Egan Maritime Institute announced Monday that Carl Sjolund will be the inaugural recipient of the Caldwell Heritage Award.

The Caldwell Heritage Award is named in honor of Robert Cary Caldwell, the visionary behind the Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum. The award celebrates individuals who, like Caldwell, play a pivotal role in preserving and promoting Nantucket’s maritime heritage, including its lifesaving traditions and narrative history.

Carl is the second generation of Sjolunds to make their living off the waters of Nantucket, following in his father, Rolf Sjolund’s, footsteps. In Carl's words: “I don’t call it work; I like what I do.” 

Carl Sjolund

"The award is a testament to our community's collective efforts in safeguarding our rich maritime legacy," Egan stated in its announcement. "Carl embodies Nantucket's maritime heritage and tirelessly works to ensure that the spirit of Nantucket's working waterfront continues for generations to come. Many Nantucketers know Carl as a scalloper; his time working on Nantucket’s waterfront is much more comprehensive."

Carl spent his childhood in Nantucket's downtown waterfront. He started his career on the water at age 12 and has been an active member of Nantucket's working waterfront ever since. He started working at his father’s shanty and aboard his father’s eastern rig side trawler. Today, while not working as a commercial scalloper in the winter, he harvests little neck clams and sells them to local fish markets.

Beyond his shell fishing work, Carl volunteers for many worthy causes around the island. He firmly believes all Nantucketers should be able to look at the island from the water. He also spends time advocating for small-scale aquaculture farmers and fishermen. He wants Nantucket’s next generation of young, hopeful fishermen to succeed. He told Egan that he is proud of the Nantucket Land and Water Council and Shellfish Association's work to educate and care for Nantucket’s harbor and help people understand the link between harbor health and fisheries.

He continues to inspire the next generation to find innovative ways to "make a living" on the water, mentoring many, including his son Jim, who, when not captaining a 125-foot boat with a crew of 25 in Alaska, now owns and operates Nantucket's newest lobster boat, the F/V Julie Alice.

Bill Grieder, a member of the Caldwell Heritage Award review committee and life-long friend, summarized Carl’s impact: “Carl does it all and represents both the past and present; he is an island native, former member of the U.S. Coast Guard, lifetime fisherman, volunteer, and loyal friend. Anyone who wants to know anything about the history of Nantucket’s fisheries knows to call Carl.”

Carl will be presented the Caldwell Heritage Award by Michelle Maturo, Robert Caldwell’s granddaughter.

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