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.

November 9-12, 2005 — On the evening of Wednesday, November 9, as I drove home from Everett with a fully iced load of 110 freshly caught Puget Sound chum salmon, my wife, Maureen, called me with a lead on the car of her dreams. She had found a 1980 Mercedes turbo diesel wagon in Bellingham and wanted me to check it out. I called and determined the only way I could do it was to fly over to Bellingham on the commuter plane on Saturday, November 12, but this was the day I had planned on selling fish at the soccer game at the elementary school.

After a day of thought and research, we decided to send me on the car-buying mission, and Maureen and our daughters, Madeline and Sophia, 10 and 8, would sell the fish. I told them I would cut them in on a standard sales commission of 15 percent, which they would split, for an even take of 7.5 percent each. Maureen's concern fell with Lucy, our baby of nine months, and who would help her take care of her while the fish were being sold. The girls both promised to be good baby helpers and good fish-sellers, and the deal was decided.

On Saturday morning, I loaded up my truck with bags, rags, the required hand-wash station, and my 4' x 3' "Top Quality FRESH SALMON" sign, and drove with them to the school to set up before the soccer games started at 10 a.m. There were already many soccer enthusiasts when we arrived, and the girls landed a few customers in the short time I was there before I had to head off to the airport to fly away for the day.

Maureen kept me posted on the day's progress. Sales were brisk at the school; they had sold about 60 fish before they had to mobilize to their swimming lesson. Maureen planned on waiting inside the gym and chatting with friends while the girls were at swimming, but she never had a chance to go in because people who had heard there were fish for sale at the soccer game sought her out and started buying fish from where she was parked in front of the health club. She had steady customers the whole time the girls were in swimming, and she never even set the sign up; it was partially visible the way it was stuck in the side of the bed, and the big gray fish tote in the back was a dead giveaway that fish were near.

She sold around 20 fish while the girls were in swimming, plus Jack, the guy with whom we trade fish for wood, stopped by and took about 20 fish, which just about finished us off. The rest disappeared over the next couple of days to friends, neighbors and stragglers, and also to our own dinner plates, because we like to eat those tasty dogs, too!

And as for the car; we bought the thing, but it turned out to be one huge repair bill after another. I sort of regret buying the car, but am very glad I made the trip so the girls could cut their teeth as fishmongers on San Juan Island.


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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