National Fisherman

Boats & Gear 

Michael CrowleyThe Boats & Gear blog is overseen by our Boats & Gear editor, Michael Crowley. It explores new construction projects, electronics, gear and equipment for the commercial fishing industry.

"Go West, young man" was supposedly advice author Horace Greeley gave in the mid-1800s to young men burdened by a lack of opportunity among the cities and farms of the East Coast. These days that expression is being turned around as a few West Coast fishermen are looking to the East, primarily to Maine, when it's time to build a new boat.

20140904 boatbuilding NFoctThat's particularly true for boats in the 40-foot range. We look at one example of this trend in the boatbuilding story that begins on page 28 in the October issue.

When Jerry Brum a Dungeness crab fisherman out of San Mateo, Calif., was thinking about upgrading from his 32-footer, a friend suggested he take a look at a 45-footer owned by another Dungeness crab fisherman. That 45-footer, a fiberglass boat built in 2009 at H&H Marine in Steuben, Maine, got Brum's attention.

Brum liked the looks of the boat and signed up with H&H Marine to build him a slightly smaller version of the Osmond Beal design, at 40' x 14' 10". It's not easy working out the details of having your boat built when the boatyard is 3,000 miles — give or take — away. It takes trust on the part of the fisherman and the boatbuilder.

Brian Robbins, the article's author, leads the reader through the building of the Miss G, until Brum has a boat that offers plenty of working room and carrying capacity, yet enables him to work the Miss G by himself if need be.

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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