National Fisherman

Goin' big

Longliners and trawlers take center stage at the nation's yards

By Michael Crowley

For the past few years, new boat construction for the West Coast and Alaska fisheries has been defined by gillnetters and 58-footers. But in the past year builders have seen a surge in the construction, rebuilding or extensive modifying of large boats for those fisheries. It's a case of upgrading older boats to make them more efficient and safer, sticking with proven designs, or in one case, jumping way ahead of the pack in terms of propulsion choices.

These four boats are perhaps an example of what other boat owners will be doing in the near future.

Bering Defender
In early 2011 the 164-foot Dona Martita was working the East Coast's herring and mackerel fisheries. Then the boat's owner, Global Seas in Seattle, decided to bring the boat back to Alaska, where she had been a crabber until 2001, and use her in the pollock fishery.

On the way to the West Coast, the Donna Martita pulled in to Patti Marine Enterprises in Pensacola, Fla., to be hauled out and rigged for her new fishery. When the boat left, she had a new name, Bering Defender, was longer by 10 feet, and had had a lot more work than originally planned.

The initial work order was pretty straightforward. The shipyard would cut off the bulwarks and deck gear. They would move up the trawl deck about 10 feet and install full-height bulwarks to provide the crew some shelter. Bringing the fish holds up to the new deck would increase hold capacity by 40 to 50 percent. They were to build two gantries and install new Rapp-Hydema winches. Up forward they would add a bulbous bow and back aft a stern extension.

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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