National Fisherman

Splitting pairs

Innovative Virginia menhaden seiner is more than the sum of its parts

By Larry Chowning

Change is part of every fishery, and Jimmy Kellum is an agent of change when it comes to Chesapeake Bay menhaden. Kellum, who operates Kellum Maritime, a snapper-rig menhaden fishing company in Weems, Va., recently cut apart two 40' x 11' aluminum menhaden purse-net boats. From the pieces, he built the 40' x 18' In-seine, a first of its kind on Chesapeake Bay.

After a season of fishing the In-seine, Kellum says, "we had a nice year and caught a lot of fish. We didn't make a lot of money because the price of fuel and the cost of doing business is going off the charts." Despite the odds, a major reason Kellum was able to have a decent year was his new purse boat.

He is always thinking along the lines of improving on what he already has. When it came to his purse boat, Kellum knew what had to be improved. Above all else he wanted a boat with a self-bailing cockpit; after that it was more room, more speed and a boat that would be safer for the five-man crew hauling the nets aboard.

The self-bailing cockpit was inspired by problems with jellyfish, which Chesapeake watermen call water gulls or jellies. "Lots of things have changed in the last 30 years of fishing," Kellum says. "We used to have sea nettles. Now we don't have as many sea nettles, but we have had an explosion of water gulls. They are a real hindrance because jellies come in with the net and are hard to pump out. [They lie] in the net and in the boat, and the boat gets real heavy and is hard to tow.

"Before, we were running three or four bilge pumps to get the jelly out of the boat. With the In-seine, we were looking to get a more stable boat, and the self-bailing cockpit [is a way] to get rid of the jelly."

To build the In-seine, Kellum obtained two used purse boats from Omega Protein in Reedville, Va. As opposed to a snapper-rig menhaden fishing operation, where a single purse boat drops a sea anchor overboard to hold one end of the net in place as the boat circles the school of fish, an outfit like Omega Protein uses two purse boats.

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.

Read more...

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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