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.

Saturday, June 11, 2011 — After shooing away the robins, we pulled the Sunlight III out of the warehouse a few days later, and lowered her into the water. I was right on schedule and felt good with the way things were progressing. Add a comment

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Wednesday June 1, 2011 — I arrived in Naknek. One thing that was different was there were many other fishermen here to greet me; usually I am one of the very first, then other fishermen trickle in after me. And since I arrived on pretty much the same date as usual, this means the other fishermen are coming up earlier. In fact, three guys I know of came up, got their major projects done, and then flew home. I haven't seen this much interest in Bristol Bay since the the mid-1990s.

Another astounding snippet of real-time trivia is the price of permit leases. After years of $8,000 to $10,000 lease price to use a Bristol Bay permit for the season, permits are now leasing at the incredible price of $25,000. Of course, if a fisherman owns his own permit, he doesn't have to pay this. But if you need a permit in order to go fishing, you are going to have to fork out the big bucks.

Both of these facts demonstrate the anticipation and excitement of this upcoming Bristol Bay season. Last year we were paid more than we have been paid since the mid-1990s. Guys are building new boats, coming up early to work on refrigeration systems, bow thrusters, or hydraulic-upgrade installations, which shows this year the fleet will be on point and ready to fight for every fish.

On the more real side of life, over the winter a pair of robins built their nest in my mast, which was lowered when my boat was moved into the warehouse for the winter. I knew I would have to give these birds some kind of an eviction notice because my boat would be out fishing before their chicks hatched and fledged.

To accommodate the birds, my crewman Edward and I moved it to the rafter just a few feet away. When the birds returned after we relocated their nest, they were a bit confused. Edward and I watched as they tried to figure out what had happened to their nest, and after a full FIVE MINUTES of confusion, one of them noticed the nest in the new location, and they have been living there happily ever since. It is really cool because whenever I am working on a project up on my flying bridge, they are buzzing back and forth feeding their chicks.

At this point I hope to have my boat moved out of the warehouse in a day or two, so it is good to have the birds off the boat. It is also good to have those birds as a reminder that despite all the hype and excitement connected to this year's Bristol Bay season, everything is still connected to the natural cycle of life.

Let's hope the sockeye are cycling as well as those robins!

TO BE CONTINUED...

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Sunday, April 3, 2011 — We made our delivery at the Resurrection Bay Seafoods plant in Seward on the morning of Sunday, April 3. The delivery was smooth and fast, but things came to a grinding halt when we had to wait almost a week for weather until Friday, April 8. Add a comment

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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. Add a comment

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April 2, 2011 — After a quick turnaround in Sitka, Alaska, we headed back out to clean up our Southeast blackcod on Saturday, March 26. We caught our fish on Sunday in four strings, still with unbelievably nice weather, then ran in and delivered first thing Monday morning. We were looking to head across the gulf while the weather was good, so we blew out of Sitka on Monday afternoon, March 28. Add a comment

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March 25, 2011 — We just completed our first longline trip of the 2011 season. The season opened March 12, but the Discovery didn't leave Port Townsend, Wash., until March 15. Add a comment

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January 1, 2011 — Friday Harbor, Wash., to Seattle and back in 12 hours Add a comment

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December 7-10, 2010 — Fishermen's Terminal net yard, Seattle

Now that the salmon season is over, I get to repair the net that caught the fish. I do this under the lights of the net yard at Fishermen's Terminal so I can work all night long. This year it took three loooooooooong days. Add a comment

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November 8-9, 2010 — Hours of opening: 4 p.m. Sunday to 8 a.m. Monday

This would be the last night of gillnetting Puget Sound for me. It was not expected to open the next week in areas 10 and 11 (Seattle area). I had to attend the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association meeting the next week, and Fish Expo, so I would miss any openings, which would probably be only in Everett or Bellingham, Wash., anyway. Add a comment

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August 11-18, 2008 — Although we caught only four fish, the Lady Ruth's first trip was deemed a success, mostly because we made it back without freezing to death or having the stern of the boat fall off. Add a comment

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National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 11/06/14

In this episode:

NOAA report touts 2013 landings, value increases
Panama fines GM salmon company Aquabounty
Gulf council passes Reef Fish Amendment 40
Maine elver quota cut by 2,000 pounds
Offshore mussel farm would be East Coast’s first

 

Inside the Industry

EAST SAND ISLAND, Oregon—Alexa Piggott is crawling through a dark, dusty, narrow tunnel on this 62-acre island at the mouth of the Columbia River. On the ground above her head sit thousands of seabirds. Piggott, a crew leader with Bird Research Northwest, is headed for an observation blind from which she'll be able to count them.
 
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NOAA and its fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have announced the signing of a formal Record of Decision to implement a gulf restoration plan. The 44 projects, totaling an estimated $627 million, will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.

Read more...

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