National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Last week, my lovely bride and a few of her work colleagues piled into her large white Buick and drove directly into the teeth of a monster snowstorm, determined to reach a business conference in Charlotte, N.C. Some 23 hours of white-knuckle driving through all manner of frozen precipitation didn't keep my fisherman's daughter spouse — a force of nature in her own right — from arriving on time.

It's been a brutal winter, on land and on the water, too. Just ask the fishermen working Lake Michigan for Susie-Q Fish Co. in Two Rivers, Wis. The company's two trawl boats and one gillnetter work Lake Michigan all winter long. But this year, extreme cold and ice have been a real problem.

"We've had the worst winter I've seen since 1977," Susie-Q Fish Co. president Mike LeClair told the Mantiwoc (Wis.) Herald Times Reporter.

We're talking wind chills on the lake reaching 20 below, folks. And then there's the ice.

"The ice is really taking a toll on us this year," Susie-Q skipper John Kulpa Jr., told the newspaper. "Every day we have to find a place to troll around in." The punishing trifecta of cold, wind and ice has made it difficult for the company's gillnetter to find its nets.

And of course there's the ice build up on the boats that needs to be hammered off. LeClair said it can sometimes be six inches thick. See for yourself what the boats are dealing with in this HTR Media video.

 Whether you're fishing on Lake Michigan or off Alaska or northeast waters, Old Man Winter makes your job a little more difficult and dangerous than usual. I tip my ski cap to all of you braving the winter elements to fill your holds with fish.

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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