National Fisherman

You don't need Captain Obvious to tell you that fishing is hard work. It's a punishing profession that taxes you physically and mentally. It's no less harsh on the Alaska factory longliner Siberian Sea, but as Roger Fitzgerald notes in his column "In Search of the Simple Life" on page 9 in our April Yearbook issue, the vessel contains some perks you don't find on most fishing boats.

The longliner has creature comforts like staterooms, individual showers and a big screen TV. Not that the crew gets to take advantage of them much when the fishing is heavy (which is most of the time, Roger says). But I bet they help the crew members recharge their batteries and keep morale up.

Such luxuries weren't available on the schooner Mary F. Chisolm in 1906. Maybe if they had been it would've prevented the mutiny that our Boats & Gear Editor Michael Crowley writes about in his boatbuilding feature on p. 36 of our April issue.

portlandbait068The trouble occurred on a mackerel trip to the Virginia Capes. The Chisolm, fishing out of Gloucester, Mass., picked up extra crew in Portland, Maine, and skipper Sylvester Durost was a replacement for the regular captain. Durost apparently didn't play well with others, and drove the crew beyond its limits.

When Durost declared that rather than return to Portland as originally planned, they'd go "clear to the Bay of Fundy" in search of mackerel, it heightened animosity between the Portlanders and Durost. Confrontations started off as verbal and later became physical (resulting in Durost's breaking a crewman's arm when he swung an oar). Eventually the dispute led to 12 crew members tossing their oilskins and boots overboard as part of their effort to force Durost to return the ship to Portland.

By that point, not even having a big screen TV onboard would have helped calm things down. If there was a PlayStation, too, it might have helped ease tensions, but somehow I doubt it.

You can read the details in Mike's story, which also profiles an oar- and sail-powered Columbia River boat that become the dominant vessel of its era, and the Newfoundland, a diesel-powered New England side trawler built in 1930 that hedged its bets by also sporting a mainsail and foresail. It's great reading that provides a window into the fishing past.

Photo: The crew of the Mary F. Chisolm cuts up bait while the vessel is tied to the Portland docks five years after the mutiny occurred. File photo

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15

In this episode, Online Editor Leslie Taylor talks with Mike McLouglin, vice president of Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear.

National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15

In this episode:

March date set for disaster aid dispersal
Oregon LNG project could disrupt fishing
NOAA tweaks gear marking requirement
N.C. launches first commercial/recreational dock
Spiny lobster traps limits not well received

Inside the Industry

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is required by state statute to appoint someone to the Board of Fisheries by today, Tuesday, May 19. However, his efforts to fill the seat have gone unfulfilled since he took office in January. The seven-member board serves as an in-state fishery management council for fisheries in state waters.

The resignation of Walker’s director of Boards and Commissions, Karen Gillis, fanned the flames of controversy late last week.

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Keith Decker, president and COO of High Liner Foods, will take over for the outgoing CEO, Harry Demone, who will assume the role as chairman of the board of directors. The Lunenburg, Nova Scotia-based seafood supplier boasts sales in excess of $310 million (American) for the first quarter of the year.

Read more...
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