National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

lincIn Mixed Catch, NF Senior Editor Linc Bedrosian spotlights a wide range of commercial fishing-related news items from coast to coast.

 

 

from-hooks-to-harpoons-the-story-of-santa-barbara-channel-fisheriesFrom Hooks to Harpoons
...the Story of Santa Barbara Channel Fisheries
By Mick Kronman
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 2013
Softcover, 261 pp., $24.95
ggorga@sbmm.org

When we embarked on producing North Pacific Focus, a Pilothouse Guide-inspired supplement for Alaska and West Coast readers that mailed with our April issue, we decided it'd be a good idea to profile fishing ports in the region. Conveniently, I'd just finished reading "From Hooks to Harpoons: the Story of Santa Barbara Channel Fisheries," which led me to profile Santa Barbara in the Winter 2014 issue of NPF.

The book's author, Mick Kronman, was a great source for the story. Kronman, 65, has been the city's harbor operations manager for 14 years. He's also a former commercial fisherman and he served as NF's Pacific bureau chief for a number of years.

He also proves to be the right guy to tell the story of the city's fishing history. The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum asked Kronman to chronicle the port's fishing heritage, which dates back to the 1850s.

"The maritime museum wanted me to write 10,000 words," Kronman says. So he dived into his research.

As part of his research, he poured over the museum's voluminous collection of photos of local fishermen and boats that defined eras past. And Marla Daily, president of the Santa Cruz Island Foundation, gave Kronman access to her file archives, which contained letters, narratives, newspaper accounts and other data about the city's fishing past.

Eventually, Kronman's original 10,000 words would blossom into 75,000. Alas, his manuscript grew dusty sitting on the shelves for several years as the museum went through some changes.

But eventually museum officials realized it needed to be a book. His work made it into publication last fall, some 13 years after the project began.

Happily, the book is well worth the wait. It's an entertaining history of Santa Barbara's fishing history, told via the five gear types used in the various fisheries.

"I thought the only way I could get my mind and ability around the project was to break the story into gear groups," Kronman says.

The gear types that Santa Barbara fishermen still use today date back some 3,000 years to when Chumash Native Americans used early forms of nets, harpoons, hooks, traps and dive gear. Those gear types have helped local fishermen catch a wide variety of fish and shellfish, including spiny lobster, rock crab, ridgeback and spot prawns, squid, rockfish, swordfish, halibut, blackcod, sea cucumbers, abalone and sea urchins.

Kronman looks at not only the development of each gear type, but at the fisheries that spawned from them, and the people who helped them grow. The book is filled with anecdotes about the port's commercial fisheries and loaded with photos from the past and present.

"From Hooks to Harpoons" is an engaging and informative look at Santa Barbara's commercial fishing history. But I think the book may say as much about Kronman's affection for the city's fishing industry. And that affection shines through "From Hooks to Harpoons," separating it from garden-variety history books. You don't have to be a Santa Barbara fisherman to appreciate that.

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Warriors coverWarriors
A Novel
By William B. McCloskey Jr.
Skyhorse Publishing, 2013
Hardcover, 400 pp., $24.95
http://www.skyhorsepublishing.com/

You'll get a taste of "Warriors," the prequel to William B. McCloskey's previous novels "Highliners," "Brokers" and "Raiders" in our January issue. The "Warriors" excerpt that begins on page 26 focuses on fishing in the early days of Alaska's king crab fishery. But the novel is about much more than that.

The "Highliners" trilogy focuses on the story of Hank Crawford's journey from green cannery hand to respected fishing captain in Alaska, a tale that spans from the early 1960s to the mid-1980s. Three important characters who appear in the three novels return as the main characters in "Warriors."

Crawford's future mentor, Marine Sgt. Jones Henry, Japanese officer Kiyoshi Tsurifune, and anti-German Resistance fighter Swede Scorden struggle to return to a normal life after World War II. Each man is wrestling with all they've endured during the war and want nothing more than to return to the fishing life.

For Jones, that means returning to Ketchikan, Alaska, to fish for salmon and king crab. Swede, too, settles in Ketchikan where he throws himself into work at a cannery, eventually becoming an executive. Kiyoshi returns to his family, trying to deal with the lost honor of his country's defeat, eventually helping his local fishermen get back on the water and becoming a seafood buyer. The three men's paths cross throughout the book, as Kiyoshi eventually becomes an ambassador for the Japanese trade.

But the fishing world is changing. Engines are replacing the sails on fishing boats that Jones and other fishermen have relied upon for years. A new union calls a strike during the height of salmon season. And an impending deal to allow the Japanese to fish Alaska waters angers many Alaska fishermen for whom memories of the war against Japan are all too fresh.

Each character's perspective on the war is enlightening. The passages about life in post-war Japan are compelling. So are those in which Jones wrestles with his war experiences; Jones just wants to fish and be left alone, and not have to think about what he saw in the war.

Against the backdrop of the changes in their lives and Alaska's fishing industry, each man must find a way to make peace with what they've experienced and with the changes coming to the burgeoning Alaska fisheries. All in all "Warriors" proves to be a worthy addition to the "Highliner" novels.

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Four Thousand Hooks coverFour Thousand Hooks
A True Story of Fishing and Coming of Age on the High Seas of Alaska
By Dean Adams
University of Washington Press, 2012
Softcover, 270 pp., $16.95
http://www.washington.edu/uwpress/

One of the neat things about Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle is the Author's Corner and Bookstore, where you can get your mitts on a wide range of books about fishing. Plus there's seating and a special section for book signings, discussions and more. 

It's easy to see why Dean Adam's book "Four Thousand Hooks" was featured at Pacific Marine Expo last year. Want to find out what's on tap in the Author's Corner this year? Just click here and scroll down for the 2013 show's lineup.

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saltwater-summerSaltwater Summer
By Roderick Haig-Brown
Harbour Publishing, 1948
Softcover, 240 pp., $14.95
www.harbourpublishing.com

You will forgive me if I'm mildly puzzled as to why "Saltwater Summer" is classified as "juvenile fiction." What we have here is a story about fishing, plain and simple. Nowhere in this book appear any vampires, werewolves, zombies, dragons or sorcerers of any kind, which would seem an immediate disqualification for being labeled as teen fiction, or at least what passes for it these days.

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eastofhagueline cover2East of the Hague Line
By Gordon Holmes
Trafford Publishing, 2012
676 pp., hardcover, $35.44; softcover, $25.44; e-book, $3.99
www.trafford.com

There isn't a lot of down time on a fishing boat at sea, so it may take a fisherman some time to get through the more than 600 pages that make up Gordon Holmes' novel "East of the Hague Line." The good news is it's worth taking that time.

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Nathan and the Stone Crabs2

 

Nathan and the Stone Crabs
By J.B. Crawford
CreateSpace, 2011
Softcover, 216 pp., $12.95
www.amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com

"Stone crabs is the onliest things in the ocean that a man can take out, harvest, return to the water and then come back to harvest again," writes J.B. Crawford in his novel "Nathan and the Stone Crabs." "Stone crabs, they live on. Come back to fight another day."

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stjoseph-and-the-sea

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Joseph and the Sea
Fishermen, Faith and Redemption by the Ocean
By Daniel Chiasson
CreateSpace, 2012
Softcover, 206 pp., $8.99

It's one thing for a person to figure out what they'd like to do for a living. It's another to figure out who they are, and what kind of a person they want to be.

And if they are so fortunate as to develop concrete answers to those Big Questions, there's still the matter of taking action to fulfill those desires. That's no small task.

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sperlbook609 

Living to Fish, Fishing to Live

Life and Trials of Fishing Fever in Alaska

By Dennis Sperl

Ensign Group International, 2011

Softcover, 404 pp., $12.95

dwsperl@hotmail.com

Exploring the 'fishing fever' phenomenon

"This book tries to explain the fishing fever phenomenon by examples of how the infection gets into one's blood," writes Dennis Sperl, a Petersburg, Alaska, fisherman in "Living to Fish, Fishing to Live". His book's stories and poems, Sperl writes, offer examples of "a life-long affliction that has no cure."

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Tough Island
True Stories from Matinicus, Maine
By Crash Barry
Maine Misadventures, 2011
Hardcover, 130 pp., $18.00
www.mainemisadventures.com

Author’s stint as sternman on Maine’s Matinicus Island turns a wanderer into a writer


Only the folks who live and fish on Matinicus Island really know what the remote Maine island, located 20 miles out to sea, is like. Maine author Crash Barry doesn’t claim to be a Matinicus expert. But “Tough Island,” his memoir on the two years he spent there working as a lobster boat sternman offers one man’s view of what life there was like. Add a comment

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1215 The Scallop ChristmasThe Scallop Christmas
By Jane Freeberg, illustrated by Astrid Sheckels
Islandport Press, 2009
Hardcover, 34 pp., $16.95
www.islandportpress.com

How often do you come across a Christmas story that has a commercial fishing backdrop? "The Scallop Christmas," does and it will make a nice addition to your family's holiday traditions.

According to author Jane Freeberg, who lives on Maine's Georgetown Island, the book is based on a true story told to her by a friend who lived most of the story. "It rattled around in my brain for 35 years," Freeberg writes, "and when it came to mind, I'd think, 'That's a great story, I ought to write it down.'"
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National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live is a web video series featuring the latest fishing news, product information and industry analysis by our editors. In this episode:

  • Ruling favors commercial red snapper fishermen
  • Fishermen file suit over Texas oil spill
  • Florida gov. announces oyster recovery funding
  • Hatchery salmon were 36 percent of harvest
  • Maine's new elver rules delay season start

Inside the Industry

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is currently soliciting applicants for open advisory panel seats as well as applications from scientists interested in serving on its Scientific and Statistical Committee.

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The North Carolina Fisheries Association (NCFA), a nonprofit trade association representing commercial fishermen, seafood dealers and processors, recently announced a new leadership team. Incorporated in 1952, its administrative office is in Bayboro, N.C.

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