By land, air and sea

By Jessica Hathaway

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. But what happens when it ends 500 feet before it’s supposed to? Boats & Gear Editor Michael Crowley’s Boatbuilding story for this issue illustrates perfectly that in fishing, as in life, anything can happen. (And that goes for the good as well as the bad.)

When the owners of the Sea Mac, a 90-foot dragger and tender out of Kodiak, needed a new engine, the first thing they had to do was appeal to the EPA to keep a Tier 1 engine in their boat. Improving standards for emissions have phased out Tier 1 engines, but if moving on to Tier 3 is a financial hardship for the boatowner, they might get a dispensation.

And that they did. Then they turned to Hansen Boat Co. in Everett, Wash., to help them install their new Cummins KTA-38M. The only hiccup was that because those engines are no longer the standard here, they aren’t made here either. So it had to make a 13,000-mile journey from the manufacturing plant in India. To find out what happened at the end of that trip, read the full story on page 28 of our print issue.

Mishaps in fishing and boatbuilding are par for the course, which is probably why there are so many superstitions on boats, as Lael Henterly learned in her adventure seining chum salmon in Puget Sound out of Gig Harbor, Wash. Henterly is a Seattle-based freelance journalist who says she always seems to find herself in close proximity to the commercial fishing industry. These days she’s living in the water on a houseboat across Salmon Bay from Fishermen’s Terminal. In the fall, she hopped aboard a salmon seiner and fished South Sound with the crew. Lael’s haulback adventure starts on page 22 of our print issue.

A good writer can’t resist a good story, and that’s exactly what you’ll find if you start wandering the docks. Or the hangar. On page 26 of our print issue, Saving Seafood writers John Cooke and Emmie Derback explore the contributions spotter pilots have made to the menhaden fisheries of the East and Gulf coasts. The pilots have been observing the fishery from above for decades and hope that their data will be incorporated into its management. As we were getting ready to send this issue to the printer, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission confirmed that the last menhaden assessment was deeply flawed. Their new approach validates what the fishermen and pilots have been saying since their quotas were slashed in 2012 — that there are plenty of fish in the sea. Fortunately for the menhaden fleets and pilots, their journey is far from over.

 

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» Read more articles in our MARCH issue.

A collection of stories from guest authors.

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