For the of Cod
Blue North raises the bar for freezer-longliners in the Bering Sea and beyond

When describing the new Blue North, a stunning, trend-setting freezer-longliner built for Blue North Fisheries of Seattle, it’s hard to know where to begin.

You could focus on the vessel itself, a molded-hull, steel-and-aluminum 191-footer with diesel-electric power, azimuthing drives and a waste-heat recovery system. 

You could focus on the moon pool, the 5-foot-wide and 20-foot-deep vertical tube in the midships interior through which the groundline and catch are hauled back.

You could focus on what the ship’s owners describe as “humane harvest,” the revolutionary technique of capture in which all harvested fish (primarily Pacific cod) are stunned electrically just after being pulled from the water in the moon pool. The object of the technique being to reduce stress and thereby improve the quality of the end product. The Blue North is the first fishing boat anywhere to incorporate this step into its catching and processing.

You could focus on reduced emissions, enhanced efficiency and increased utilization achieved by sourcing equipment from New Orleans to Norway.

You could also focus on Pat and Michael Burns, brothers from upstate New York who moved to the Pacific Northwest in the 1970s to become commercial fishermen. They now own and operate (along with Kenny Down, their CEO) the largest fleet of freezer-longliners in the Alaska cod fishery. Known for resuscitating older, dilapidated and bankrupt boats, Blue North Fisheries has now leapfrogged everyone with the brightest, shiniest flagship of all. 

Designed by Skipsteknisk in Norway, the Blue North was built by Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, Wash. She launched in September and joins the Blue North Fisheries fleet of five longliners for the Bering Sea P-cod B season.

The Blue North has an impressive list of innovative features, but it is built on a tradition that the Burns brothers have a lot of respect for: the use of hooks.

“We catch our fish the same way those men in the dories caught their fish, one at a time, on a hook,” said Pat Burns at the boat’s christening in Seattle in September. “It’s been done that way for 150 ...


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