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.

Friday, April 15, 2011 — We left Seward. The initial plan was to stay in town until Saturday, but Roald stepped it up a day because the tides (or currents) get stronger with the full moon. He wanted to haul the deepwater blackcod with less current; a strong current puts drag, or strain, on the groundline as we haul it aboard from 250 fathoms (1,500 feet) below the surface.

So we scrambled out of town on Friday afternoon. We couldn't ask for a better weather forecast; 15 knots for Friday, then variable 10 knots for Saturday through Monday. I figure a weather forecast is accurate to within 15 knots, so when it calls for 25, it could be blowing anywhere from 15 to 35 knots. As it turned out, we did most of our fishing in 25 knots, which unfortunately for us was blowing AGAINST the strong current, so it stacked up the seas and gave us a never-ending beating while we were fishing.

Fishing was slow so it still took us two days to catch the remainder of our blackcod quota. We were blessed with the absence of whales, so we got to keep all of our big fish, which they usually slurp off our line on the way up to the boat. We figured there was better fishing in other spots, so they were enjoying a more abundant buffet provided by some other sucker.

We caught the remainder of our halibut quota in one 15-skate string. The weather had come down to variable 5 knots, and we had a beautiful run into Seward Monday night, escorted by a big, orange rising full moon.

Inside the Industry

NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.


Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.

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