One year ago, when interviews via Zoom were new (and a little exciting, even), I sat down in my East Coast kitchen to talk with a fishing family in the San Francisco Bay Area. Adam Sewall, 38, and Eleza Jaeger, 33, had spent the first part of the year tracking production on their line of blackcod pots, while running their commercial and charter fishing businesses, and managing schedules for their three young children.
The fishing family had an early warning of what was to come for 2020 when their Asia-based blackcod pot manufacturer shuttered in January as the virus caused shutdowns in nations on the other side of the Pacific. They watched the spread of covid-19 disrupt commerce and lives around the globe until it reached the shores of the U.S. West Coast.
This time last year, Sewall and Jaeger’s most remarkable real-time innovation was shifting focus from their charter business, which would be shuttered by social distancing regulations, to selling their commercial catch through a local community supported fishery and bringing their kids onboard to start what they call their School of Fish.
But that didn’t stop the entrepreneurs from making headway with their other brainchild, now known as CodCoil or Slinky Pots. These collapsible, lightweight blackcod pots, developed with fellow fisherman and biologist Alexander Stubbs, took off like a California wildfire in the West Coast and Alaska blackcod longline fishery last year. And they show no signs of slowing. The product is being tweaked for use in other fisheries and other types of gear. Read the full story from our Products Editor Brian Hagenbuch.
In this next phase of the pandemic, the industry is looking back at a full year of changes in consumer appetites and taking advantage of increased demand for wild domestic seafood. Boats & Gear Editor Paul Molyneaux reviews changes in freezing, processing and delivery capacity for smaller operations, as well as boatbuilding trends.
In my editor’s log last month, I made the regrettable error of transposing the names of the father and son who were lost with the F/V Scandies Rose in Alaska. They were Captain Gary Cobban Jr. and his son, David Cobban. Our online and digital publications have been corrected. My sincerest apologies to their loved ones who have been reliving the pain of the loss, following the Coast Guard hearings.