Land of second sons
Determination shines in Petersburg, Alaska — founded by Norwegians and thriving on fish
By Jessica Hathaway
When I stepped off an Alaska Airlines 737 in Petersburg, Alaska, I was struck by how small the airport is, given the size of the plane (a flight that nestles between the muskeag and mountains twice daily). I would soon cement the idea gelling in my mind that this town is awash in contradictions.
Known as Alaska's Little Norway, Petersburg has streets lined with perfectly appointed Scandinavian-style houses with manicured lawns and impeccable gardens. Yet, its main street (which in most parts of the country is considered the avenue of first impressions) is rather perfunctory. A string of unassuming shops and restaurants primarily cater to the principle industry in Petersburg: commercial fishing. The locals are fastidious, but above all, they're industrious.
Ebb and flow
Loss and opportunity has been a recurring theme for me this month. Where you have the former, you almost always have the latter. At the end of the cycle for this issue, we learned that we had lost our longest-running columnist, Allen D. "Mike" Brown, who authored the "Cap'n Sane Says..." stories of Saturday Cove, Maine, for nearly 50 years.
Though it is never easy to say good-bye to an old friend, Mike's passing offered us the opportunity to examine his life and his history with the magazine, which is truly inspiring. Our Mail Buoy section quickly turned into a dedication to Mike and his work, first for Maine Coast Fisherman and eventually for NF, on page 12.
Lobstermen race to fight MS; boat is stolen and then found
The third weekend in August, 60 lobster boats showed up at the MS Harborfest Lobster Boat Races in Portland, Maine. This is the last race for points in Maine's lobster-boat racing circuit. It was also a chance to raise money to fight multiple sclerosis.
This year the races generated slightly more than $11,000 for the Greater New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The money comes from race entry fees and from fishermen who give back their prize money for first, second and third place. "Almost everyone gave money back," says Jon Johansen, a race organizer.
Gulf/South Atlantic Oysters
Supply, demand low as region recovers from oil spill and consumer perception
One thing seems certain as the 2011-12 oyster season approaches; there won't be an abundant supply of Gulf of Mexico oysters. Demand also remains below normal.
While Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama fisheries were still recovering from the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill, an abundance of fresh water from record Mississippi River spring flooding flushed central gulf oyster grounds and killed a lot more oysters. Then, the Texas summer drought raised Galveston Bay salinity to the danger level, increasing the odds against a normal fall opening. By mid-August, only Florida's fishery had escaped serious setbacks.
Close to home
From U.S. Coast Guard Reports
On a cool, sunny February day near Hopedale, La., a 31-foot bayou shrimper was making its way back to port with three crew. She was moonlighting as an oyster dredge on this trip.
The skipper, mate and deckhand had worked four days hauling, cleaning, and bagging 130 sacks of oysters. The skipper and mate had fished together for some time. The deckhand was a greenhorn.
Callifornia crabbing: Here's a fun video shot on the decks of the Majestik while catching Dungeness crab off the coast of northern California.
Over 500 lots of seafood processing equipment formerly owned by Adak Seafood will be sold at auction on Tuesday, June 18, starting at 10 a.m. Hawaiian-Aleutian Daylight Time at the Hilton Garden Inn in Anchorage Alaska.
The equipment is located in a recently updated 250,000 square foot state-of-the-art processing facility in Adak, Alaska. Farmington Hills, Mich.-based Hilco Industrial, which conducts 75 machinery and equipment auctions in a wide range of industries annually, will conduct the auction.
Adak Seafood opened originally as Ada Fisheries in Anchorage in 1986. The facility, updated in 2005, is located on the island of Adak, the southernmost city in Alaska near the western end of the Aleutian Islands. The facility processed cod primarily, as well as halibut, blackcod, crab and pollock, Hilco says.
Alaska fisherman and commercial fisheries activist Kevin Adams was elected chairman at the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute board of directors meeting on May 9 in Anchorage.
The governor-appointed board consists of seven members: five seafood processors and two industry representatives actively engaged in commercial fishing. Adams was appointed to fill a harvester seat by Gov. Frank Murkowski in 2004.
With 38 years of fishing experience in Bristol Bay, Adams has long been an active member in the Alaska fishing industry, ASMI says. He has worked for both the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation and the Bering Sea Fisherman's Association, and represents Alaska fishermen on numerous boards.