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.

March 14-25, 2008 — We delivered our first trip of the season to the Seafood Producers Co-op on Friday morning, March 14. Prices ranged from $3.95 to $4.50 for halibut.

We made this first delivery before there was any sign of herring in Sitka Sound, so the SPC plant had time to fillet the over-limit rockfish for Fish for Teeth, the non-profit organization I started on San Juan Island that looks to fix kid's teeth with money (or fish products) donated from the commercial fishing industry.

Another great thing I finally got a chance to do was swing by the Sitka Sound Seafood plant and buy some insulated fish totes for only $25 each! I'm not sure how much they cost new, but they're not cheap. The totes they have for sale have some kind of damage on them somewhere, but so long as there are no holes in the inside walls of the tote, I am happy.

I bought two totes and Brett bought one, all of which shall be entered into service in the Puget Sound chum salmon fishery direct-marketing efforts. We wound up shipping them to Seattle with Northland shipping.

We went to the bar that night and had a great time. The next morning brought us news of the worst kind; Roald's son had been killed in an industrial accident back at home. Judging from Roald's reaction, this is something I hope nobody has to experience. But as Roald pointed out, it seems only to happen to somebody else, until it actually happens to you.

I booked Roald a flight home that morning; he flew out by noon on Saturday, March 15. We couldn't get out until Monday morning, March 17 — maybe we should have flown independently on standby and it would have brought us all home sooner. I think spring break for Alaskan schools clogged all the flights up.

On Saturday after Roald left town I met up with the PSG film guys. They had come up to film the Sitka Sound herring sac roe purse seine fishery. They had come a bit early because you cannot predict what a herring will do.

I went for a spin around the harbor with them and the fish buyer they were working with, then we parted ways. I had hoped to have a few drinks with them at the bar, but they seem to repel from the idea of going to the bar, so that never happened.

I did cook them dinner on Saturday night, along with Crosby, who was there hoping to get a job in the fishery. He supposedly had one lined up through Keith, his TV-star crab skipper, who actually let Crosby off the crabber early and without penalty because he had the opportunity to be on TV; I have never heard of such an excuse for skippin' out with the cream of the season, but I guess this is a new era for the fishing fleet?

Our time at home was well spent appreciating our loved ones, and of course attending the funeral of Paul Pedersen, Roald's dearly departed son. It was a sad event, indeed.

We headed back up to pick up where we left off on Tuesday, March 25. Everyone agreed, including Roald, that returning to fishing was the best thing to take his mind off of this terrible loss that changed his life so unexpectedly.

TO BE CONTINUED...

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