Odlin's big bet
A Portland, Maine, fisherman will freeze herring and mackerel aboard a $24 million, 346-foot vessel
By Jerry Fraser
It was 66 degrees, unseasonably warm for January in Maine, the day the American Freedom eased away the Portland Ocean Terminal, southbound, more or less, for the waters below Long Island, N.Y.
But for New England fishermen, the weather was hardly the story.
At 346 feet long, American Freedom is bigger than some Maine harbors. And although she won't actually catch fish — legally, I'm not sure you can dangle a single hook over the side — she is certainly a fish boat. What else do you call a vessel that can pump live herring and mackerel out of the ocean and deliver top quality frozen food in neat little packages, 2,000 tons at a time?
That's a very big fish boat, indeed.
Under the name American Pelagic Seafood, longtime Portland fisherman Jim Odlin and his fellow investors have pumped 24 million — dollars, not herring — into American Freedom. Odlin, 52, refers to the boat as a freezer ship or mothership.
The latter description works well, because American Freedom will work with smaller (relatively speaking) pelagic trawlers that will catch fish but not take them aboard, instead passing brailers full of fish over to the mothership.
"This is an opportunity for a lot of vessels to participate in a fishery that has a healthy resource," he says.
For this first trip, which Odlin has planned as a two-week shakedown cruise, a couple of those trawlers will likely be owned by Odlin's other company, Atlantic Trawlers Co.
National Fisherman Live for March 11, 2014
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today the appointment of John M.R. Bull as Commissioner of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. John Bull has been with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission since June 2007 and has been serving as Acting Commissioner since January 2014.
PORTSMOUTH, NH - The New Hampshire Fish and Lobster Festival, known locally as Fishtival, invites the community to Portsmouth's Prescott Park each September to honor, celebrate and rediscover the proud tradition of small-scale, local commercial groundfishing in New Hampshire and its valuable contribution to our local food system, local economy and local culture. Now, the mission continues with the announcement of small grants available from the proceeds of the 2013 event.