National Fisherman

A few of my favorite things

I love the fishing industry, as anyone who reads this column knows. The heart is in the people. This month we feature two of my favorite Alaska salmon fishermen, Bill Webber Jr. and Corey Arnold.

The first time I saw Corey Arnold's work was just a few months into my new job as associate editor at National Fisherman about six years ago. I knew when I saw the photos he submitted from his time on the Bering Sea crabber Rollo that I wanted to meet him. Maybe it was something about looking into the eyes of someone whose eye catches amazing moments. Maybe I was just astonished by the reality of the Bering Sea crab fishery and wanted to talk to someone who had been on a rocking, frozen deck in a roiling sea.

Whatever it was, meeting Corey was not at all what I expected. First, he was walking the show floor at Pacific Marine Expo with his mom, Martha Arnold — not exactly conforming to the image of a rough and tumble Elbow Room patron and Bering Sea crab slayer. Second, he was (and still is) one of the most laid back people I've ever met — not your typical artist, either.

Since then, I've met up with Corey several times at the expo and once here in Maine when he flew out this summer to present his work for the Rockland-based Island Institute. What I've come to learn from Corey is that he's incredibly driven, funny and serious about his work, but he does not take himself too seriously.
Corey's work is loud yet full of grace, and I think that applies to his photography as well as his fishing life. Every image reads like a silent soliloquy. Get a glimpse of Corey's work and life on page 28.

Last year at about this time I was still reeling from the news that 2011 NF Highliner and Cordova, Alaska, fisherman Bill Webber Jr. had lost his boat the Gulkana. I hoped he would rebuild, but I wondered if he would take the sinking as an opportunity to dedicate himself to his shoreside business of building specialty processing equipment. In the end, he decided he had one more boat left in him and plenty more fishing.

Bill is the ultimate tinkerer. Only, what comes out of his shop will blow you away — literally. His latest project, the 35-foot aluminum bowpicker Paradigm Shift, is powered with duoprops (instead of his standard waterjets) to cruise at 26 knots and make it a little easier for this skipper to cross sandbars. But the new netter isn't all business; her interior has some yacht-inspired teak accents. Check out Boats & Gear Editor Michael Crowley's full story on the Paradigm Shift on page 42.

— Jessica Hathaway

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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