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.

July 7, 2007 — On Saturday, July 7, it was still really good fishing. The peak had passed, but most of the fleet was still on limits. Peter Pan Seafoods usually had us on a limit of 8,000 pounds per tide.


July 1-11, 2007 — With huge volumes of fish coming into all areas, and all fishermen catching lots and lots of fish, the processors simply cannot keep up with the production of their fleets. When this happens, the processors put a limit on how many fish each fisherman can deliver in a period. When this happens, the fleet is said to be "on limit."


June 26-July 5, 2007 — When the Free Week ended at 9 a.m. Friday, June 22, I went back to the dock to wait for an opening, just like everybody else who was fishing the Naknek/Kvichak district. Once the Free Week is over and the Emergency Order period begins, Alaska Fish and Game gives openings only if there is a sign of fish in the district, or if the escapement of fish going up the river is on schedule.


June 19-25, 2007 — We started fishing outside on Tuesday, June 19. We were still in the Free Week management period, which offers scheduled fishing from 9 a.m. Monday to 9 a.m. Friday, June 22. After that it switches to the Emergency Order period where Alaska Fish and Game gives us openings based on the abundance of fish.


I put the Sunlight III in the water on June 16, which was as soon as it was ready for its test run, because I wanted to see if that piece of junk the engine guy created would actually pull a load. When we dropped it in the water the hull hardly leaked a drop after the Coastal Heritage guys worked their magic on my old wood boat. But my old wood boat now rides way down in the bow because of all the weight I added with the new power plant, clutch, hydraulic pump, brackets, mounts, etc.


May 25 – June 19, 2007 — The preseason boat work on the Sunlight III began at an easy pace. I arrived on May 25, a few days ahead of Mike Vlahovich, who brought his son Anthony up to work on my boat through his organization, the Coastal Heritage Alliance. When Mike arrived I was still in a very relaxed state of mind. I knew I had a lot of work to do, but I also knew I had a lot of time to complete it. And thankfully, I had a lot of help as well.


Preseason, Bristol Bay 2007 — Another reason I seriously considered sending my boat down the river was the fact that it leaked like a sieve — a little bit more each year — and I didn't want to put an new engine in the thing if it was just going to sink because the hull wasn't sound enough to hold water.


Preseason, Bristol Bay 2007 — This year I almost took my boat out to pasture and shot it. The engine was nearing its last revolution, as there were some major chunks of metal floating around in the oil. I ran it like that through the 2006 season because I discovered the issue at the beginning of the run. But I knew something had to be done before the next season.


March 2007 (continued) — We were all real impressed by the Gloucesterman's story. I went to the bar to get another drink. While I was at the bar, he made a move for my smokes. Now, I don't smoke — Brett does; this year, Brett decided to bring up a can of Top roll-your-own tobacco, so I rolled a few on the run to town. But my smokes were SPECIAL.


March 2007 — As the Discovery ran north from Bellingham, we stopped in Petersburg on Saturday night to get ice, but we had to wait until the fish plant opened in the morning. With nothing better to do, we went out for a few drinks at the bar.


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Inside the Industry

Today Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced legislation to extend a permanent exemption for incidental runoff from small commercial fishing boats.


The National Working Waterfront Network is now accepting abstracts and session proposals for the next National Working Waterfronts & Waterways Symposium, taking place Nov. 16-19 in Tampa, Fla. The deadline is Tax Day, April 15.

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