National Fisherman

At Sea Diary

Matt MarinkovichMatt Marinkovich’s weekly At Sea Diary entry is a popular feature of the National Fisherman Web site, and now you can post your own reflections on Matt’s experiences fishing in the Pacific Northwest and North Pacific.

Sunday, August 21, 2011 — It turns out there were a few kings around Samish Bay on that night. It opened at 7 p.m., and we had a couple fish hit shortly after we set. We picked them out right away before the seals beat us to them.

We got the first one aboard no problem, but had trouble with the second fish — a big, beautiful king salmon — which slipped free of the net and disappeared into the depths. It was painful to see him slip away, and after discussing what went wrong in picking that fish, Linda and I worked as a great team, and didn't lose another fish that night.

We picked the net up around 10:30 p.m., after it was really dark. The net had been in the water for quite a while, and we had a few crab to pick, which is always a hassle because they try to pinch you as you are trying to help them out of the net, but it wasn't too bad. The fish kept coming, and we wound up with about 35 fish total for the night. The highlight was when the big fish that had slipped out came aboard with a CLUNK; he had tangled in the folds of the leadline in the shallow water and came up cradled in the net.

By the time the net was aboard, the tide was ebbing full speed off the flats of Samish Bay, which flushes out a bunch of eelgrass along with it. Because we sell the fish directly to the public on San Juan Island, we were money ahead for the opening with the catch we had aboard, so instead of setting back and loading up on eel grass, we kept the net aboard and cleaned our entire catch right on the spot. After they were all iced and stowed, we headed back to San Juan Island, happy with the fruits of our labor.


Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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