Article Category: Columns

Life Raft Survival Kit Use

Life Raft Survival Kit Use

Years ago, a fishing vessel suddenly capsized and sank in the middle of the night. Only two crewmembers made it out into the frigid water. They reached their life raft and with great effort, despite the cold, climbed into it. The next morning, the raft was found, but the crew didn’t survive due to hypothermia. When rescuers located the raft the next day, they noticed that its survival kit, which contained two Thermal Protective Aids (TPAs), had never been opened. A TPA is an orange zippered mummy-shaped bivy sack that traps in heat. Unless you live close to a certified life raft re-packer, most owners don’t see the contents of the survival kit that comes with every U.S. Coast Guard or SOLAS-approved life raft. If you view the contents of the survival pack, some objects in the kit may...
From the Editor: ‘Ocean Justice’

From the Editor: ‘Ocean Justice’

As 2023 was coming to a close, the Biden administration announced an initiative that could over time, impact commercial fishing areas along the West Coast, Bering Sea and Pacific Islands, especially those that have been, or could be, regarded as overfished.  The administration’s first of its kind “U.S. Ocean Justice Strategy” which is meant to “advance environmental justice for communities that rely on the ocean for economic, cultural, spiritual, recreational and food security purposes,” was officially unveiled during the United Nations’ annual Conference of Parties (COP28) in December.  The strategy, according to the Biden administration, is motivated by the recognition that many communities—including those who live near the ocean, that depend on marine resources, or that are part of th...
Hope for Future Fisheries During Tough Times

Hope for Future Fisheries During Tough Times

These last few years have been terribly hard for West Coast commercial fisheries, without a doubt. Two of the once most profitable West Coast fisheries—salmon and Dungeness crab—are both now severely restricted. The 2023 salmon season was totally closed in California and much of Oregon, and another record-breaking salmon season closure is looming for at least California in 2024. These are back-to-back fisheries disasters. Yet in the midst of all these assaults on our fisheries, there is still cause for some optimism.  Many of these threats to fisheries are being met head-on by our industry with some successes, which means hope for improved fisheries in upcoming years. This article highlights those efforts and successes. Salmon Habitat Restoration Klamath Dam Removals Scheduled for 20...
SOLAS & Visual Distress Signals

SOLAS & Visual Distress Signals

Visual Distress Signals (VDS) in the form of flares and orange smoke have been available for over 100 years. Although marine emergency signals via radios and satellite technology now provide worldwide coverage, a red flare on a dark night can still improve your odds of being seen and give a message of distress in an emergency. Consider this: about 15 years ago in New England, a woman woke up suddenly in the middle of the night. Unable to get back to sleep, she got up and looked out of her bedroom window, which had an expansive view of the sea and night sky. At that very moment, she saw a bright red meteor distress flare far out at sea arc through the night sky and fall slowly back to earth. She immediately called 911. Call it coincidence or divine intervention, a fishing crew was saved...
From the Editor: Happy Holidays

From the Editor: Happy Holidays

As you’re reading these words, it’s probably still late December, but because this issue carries a January cover date, allow me to be among the first to wish you a very Happy New Year. We here at Fishermen’s News hope that 2024 will be a very happy and prosperous year for you, as well as for your loved ones and colleagues. Here at the FN home base, we’ve been cooking up some special content to publish throughout the upcoming year, and I’d like to take a moment to tell you about it. Among the stories that we plan to publish in 2024 are: articles on new and planned boating supplies & equipment that are geared toward commercial fishermen; tips for getting commercial vessels in tip-top shape for the upcoming fishing season; an examination of the trends that companies are following regard...
NOAA’s National Seafood Strategy

NOAA’s National Seafood Strategy

Oddly, until now there had never been an overarching U.S. national seafood strategy to guide federal policies that affect our seafood industry. To NOAA’s credit, this changed in August 2023 with the publication of the first-ever NOAA Fisheries National Seafood Strategy. This article takes a closer look at the strategy, what it means and how it might best be implemented. Goals and quotes below are from the document itself. Goal 1: Maintain or Increase Sustainable U.S. Wild Capture Production “Fisheries Science. Provide the natural and social science necessary for fisheries management to adapt under changing ecosystem dynamics.” Sustainable fisheries management must always be based on the best available science.  Science-based fisheries management is also required by law (Magnuson-Steven...
A Gift Worth Giving

A Gift Worth Giving

We are thick into the holiday and giving season. Time for family and friends and those New Year’s resolutions for improving ourselves. This has been a good year for new marine products that improve safety. If you work on the water, there’s no better gift than one that can save a life. The following life-saving devices have drawn a lot of interest from the thousand mariners we have trained in the past year and would make great gifts for the mariner in your life. EPIRB – ACR Global Fix V5 Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) and Personal Location Beacons (PLBs) head the wish list this year. Whether you’re in danger in the remote south Pacific Ocean or in your local home port, within minutes they can tell Search and Rescue (SAR) where you are. EPIRBs have saved thousands...

Scheduling Snafus

By the time you read this, Pacific Marine Expo, one of the biggest trade shows of the year for the commercial fishing industry, will have already taken place Nov. 8-10 in Seattle.  But as I write these words, the first event is still a few days away. So, with that being the case, this column comes at an unusual point in time where I’m able to say that I look forward to seeing you at PME … and also that it was great seeing you this year at PME.  The Maritime Publishing staff, including myself, worked booth 220 at this year’s event; if you attended the expo, hopefully you got a chance to visit and say hello while you were there.  And although from my current perspective the event hasn’t happened yet, I’m sure it will be an engaging, informative gathering, as some of the items on the educa...
Watertight Door Maintenance

Watertight Door Maintenance

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, flooding and resultant capsizings are responsible for about 50% of fishing vessel casualties. Maintaining a watertight envelope, including watertight doors, is key to keeping the ocean out of your vessel. But what is a watertight door? A watertight door, according to the Coast Guard, is “a space constructed to withstand a static head of water without any leakage.” Whereas a weather-tight door is “a door that water will not penetrate into the unit in any sea condition.” In other words, a watertight door should not leak even when there is a head of water on the opposite side of the door, as opposed to a weather-tight door that is just designed to keep the weather and normal seas from leaking through the door. To give an idea of the water pressure a wa...
From the Editor: PME ‘23

From the Editor: PME ‘23

Once again, the time is almost upon us for one of the largest and longest running annual marine trade shows on the West Coast, the Pacific Marine Expo. This year’s event takes place Nov. 8-10 at the Lumen Field Event Center in Seattle. And this year, as usual, the company behind Fishermen’s News Magazine, Maritime Publishing, will be in attendance all three days. Also on hand will be representatives from Maritime Institute, the San Diego-based business that Maritime Publishing is under the umbrella of. Maritime Publishing and Maritime Institute personnel will staff booth 220 during this year’s expo, and a handful of representatives from each company are scheduled to be there, including CEO-Publisher Dave Abrams, Advertising Sales Manager Katie Higgins, Senior Designer Kathy Samuelson ...