National Fisherman

The annual Fisher Poets Gathering is pretty much exactly as advertised: A group of around 70 mostly commercial fishermen from mostly the Pacific Northwest and Alaska gather in Astoria, Oregon, to read mostly poetry, mostly about commercial fishing. It draws hundreds of people—one account said 700—to hear poems, songs, and stories of this profession, the kind of talk and art that has always flooded and buoyed those who do this work, but that most people never hear.
 
The poetry of fishing runs deep and draws from oral traditions both ancient and modern. At the Fisher Poets Gathering, you’ll hear historians singing shanties formerly sung shipboard and ashore, and you’ll hear audiences join in. In more recent times, high-powered ship-to-ship radio communication has allowed fishermen to be in touch with one another—and to “while away long hours at sea when waiting for the fish to bite by sharing recipes, stories and poems.” Writing, as mentioned in the documentary Fisher Poets, has similarly strong maritime ties in the form of fishermen’s letters home, to loved ones, and so on.
 
The work at the festival ranges widely. In 2012, Lara Lee Messersmith-Glavin gave a long and meandering account of sex, drugs, hippie parents, and fishing. In 2012 and again in 2013, I was most moved by the poems of work, mostly construction and carpentry, by former fisherman Clem Starck. These two were professionalized kinds of writers, presenting polished and powerful pieces of work. Much of the work from the festival has been collected in the book, Salt in Our Veins, a long-running zine called Xtra Tuf, and a site known as In the Tote.
 
In all those spaces, and on stages in Astoria, there is room for other members of the commercial fishing community to take their turn, whether they be fishers, family members, or friends. The event’s poetry contest, where a given theme and certain formal restrictions are supplied, is open to all attendees. Beyond poetry, there’s room for activism, for the politics of the Columbia River, for science about Fukushima or ocean acidification, for art, or for just hanging out, drinking, and commiserating.
 
Read the full story at Pacific Standard>>

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 10/21/14

In this episode:

North Pacific Council adjusts observer program
Fishermen: bluefin fishing best in 10 years
Catch limit raised for Bristol Bay red king crab
Canadian fishermen fight over lobster size rules
River conference addresses Dead Zone cleanup

National Fisherman Live: 10/7/14

In this episode, National Fisherman Publisher Jerry Fraser talks about the 1929 dragger Vandal.

 

Inside the Industry

NOAA and its fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have announced the signing of a formal Record of Decision to implement a gulf restoration plan. The 44 projects, totaling an estimated $627 million, will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.

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The Golden Gate Salmon Association will host its 4th Annual Marin County Dinner at Marin Catholic High School, 675 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Kentfield on Friday, Oct 10, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.

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