Petersburg, Alaska / Herring, salmon seiner and tender

Like a chocolate-covered cherry, there’s more to the 56-foot seiner Freedom than meets the eye.

“There’s actually a 48-foot Chignik seiner inside of that boat,” says Bruce Marifern, of Petersburg. As the story goes, the Freedom began its life as the jig for a mold that eventually became a shallow-draft seiner synonymous with the salmon fishery at Chignik on the Alaska Peninsula. What transpired in the years since Marifern acquired it was a stretch job, which brought it to 53 feet.

“We went back to Delta to look for a 53-footer, and we couldn’t find one,” he says. “So we lengthened it.”

But Marifern says the stretch job, which put the boat at 53' x 15' compromised its stability. Two years later, in 2013, they added sponsons, which widened the boat out to 20 feet.

“It brought stability to our family,” says Marifern.

Marifern adds that the family operation includes his wife, Barbara; their son, David; and daughter, Sam.

“My two kids put themselves through college on that boat,” he says. “And lately a lot of neighbor kids have been doing the same.”

HOME PORT: Petersburg, Alaska OWNERS: Bruce and Barbara Marifern BUILDER: Delta YEAR BUILT: 1980 FISHERIES: Herring and salmon seine, and the vessel also tenders salmon, tanner crab and sea cucumbers HULL CONSTRUCTION: Fiberglass LENGTH: 56 feet BEAM: 20 feet DRAFT: 8 feet CREW CAPACITY: 5 TONNAGE: 62 tons gross, 49 tons net FISH HOLD CAPACITY: 75,000 tons MAIN PROPULSION: Caterpillar 3406 BDT, 402 hp GEARBOX: Twin Disc 514 3.5:1 GENSET: Kubota 3.3 liter diesel, 30-kW PROPELLER: Bronze four-blade 40" x 38" SHAFT: Stainless steel 3-inch  SPEED: 10 knots FUEL CONSUMPTION: 11 gallons per hour at 1,650 rpm FUEL CAPACITY: 1,400 gallons FRESHWATER CAPACITY: 360 gallons ELECTRONICS: Furuno Nav Net UHD 64-mile radar (tied to Nobeltec); Furuno GP 33 GPS; radios include S/H GX-2000, Icom IC-M506, Icom 2 Meter IC-V8000, Midland VPU 12 A citizen’s band; Koden KDS-6000BB sonar; Furuno Nav Net sounder

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Charlie Ess is the North Pacific Bureau Chief for National Fisherman.

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