Article Category: Features

Harvesters Heading for Bristol Bay Are Cautiously Optimistic

Harvesters Heading for Bristol Bay Are Cautiously Optimistic

Some of the Bristol Bay commercial fishermen gearing up for the 2024 harvest of the world’s largest run of wild sockeye salmon say they’re anticipating a good season ahead, despite challenging market conditions, buoyed by cautious optimism that comes with the territory. Veterans of the fishery, in fact, told Fishermen’s News that they’re already seeing it as a year they can bank on. “I’m feeling real good about it,” said Antonio Arena, of Dillingham, Alaska, for whom this will be his 15th year fishing the bay, “I’ve seen upswings and downswings (over the years). I think (this season’s) going to be really solid.” Arena said that this year he’ll be selling his catch for the first time to Northline Seafoods, which is introducing its new vessel, The Hannah, to Bristol Bay. The salmon are ...
Vessel Profile: the F/V Progress

Vessel Profile: the F/V Progress

Flashback to March 2018: the fishing vessel Progress fights for her life in the Bering Sea as what’s been described as a giant rogue wave crashes into her. The pilothouse is a total loss as thousands of gallons of seawater flood into the accommodations and engine room below. But fortunately, the Progress, which was built by Harold Hansen Boat Co. in 1974 and has fished Bering Sea pollock since the 1980s, was able to maintain structural integrity long enough to be towed to Reedsport, Ore. for repairs in the Fred Wahl Marine Construction yard. “We worked with Fred Wahl and Hockema Group to design an improved vessel,” Hunter Berns of vessel owner Bering North explained.  Bering North is majority owned by two Alaskan CDQ (Community Development Quota) groups, the Coastal Villages Region Fu...
Demand for More Efficient Deck Equipment Among Trends in Sector

Demand for More Efficient Deck Equipment Among Trends in Sector

Concerns over fish prices, more electrical equipment for decks and suppliers stocking up – all are emerging trends in deck equipment in the fishing industry. But in a sector grappling with increasing costs and stricter regulations, greater efficiency provided by equipment may be the trend that stands out. Stricter regulations in particular, which vary by nation as well as U.S. states, are having an impact. Fishing activity in California, for example, has changed over time largely due to increased regulation, according to data from California Sea Grant and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Data from NOAA Fisheries bears that out. It shows 186,235,203 tons were landed by commercial fishermen in the state in 2022. The data overall reflects a downward trend, falling from 188,045,817 ton...
Fishing Vessel Design and Construction: Trends and Developments

Fishing Vessel Design and Construction: Trends and Developments

The design and construction of fishing vessels has evolved over time, just like other modes of transport. But commercial vessels have a more complex and multi-faceted relationship with their users than do planes, trains and automobiles. For instance, temporary living quarters are typically onboard for workers, making vessels both a home and office at sea. And with that being the case, commercial fishing vessels have a unique set of criteria when it comes to their design and construction. Whether it be automation, low emissions or even crew comforts, there’s a lot to consider when a vessel’s being designed, built or refurbished. Fishermen’s News asked some of the notable companies on the West Coast and across the U.S. that offer fishing vessel design and construction services about cur...
Extreme Ups, Downs for California and Hawaii Fisheries

Extreme Ups, Downs for California and Hawaii Fisheries

California and Hawaii’s commercial fishing industries saw substantial activity—both good and bad—in 2023, and this year looks to be another mixed bag. The Golden and Aloha states saw dramatic fishery closures, overfished species and management changes, a new fishery aimed at improving West Coast access to a sought-after species and some important wins and losses on catch limits and fishing agreements. Read on for a recap of some of the more notable season closures, new regulations and fishery changes. California There was a lot of big news for commercial fisheries last year, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Regional Manager Craig Shuman said in the department’s annual “By the Numbers” report. He called 2023 “a year of extremes.” Most notably, on April 6 of last year...
Fishing Vessel Electronics:  What’s New and What’s Trending

Fishing Vessel Electronics: What’s New and What’s Trending

Functional electronic equipment is an essential component of any modern fishing vessel, so it’s important that boats have at least modern, operable gear, if not the latest and greatest. After all, without devices that monitor a vessel’s location, communications and direction, as well as the location of fish, then a crew can be at a significant disadvantage. Fishermen’s News reached out to a number of companies that make and/or sell devices for fishing vessels to see what’s new and trending in the electronics market. Furuno Jeff Kauzlaric, spokesman for Camas, Wash.-based marine electronics manufacturer Furuno USA said that his company has several products introduced over the past several years that captains have been installing. “On fishing vessels under 100 feet, we typically see m...
Developing Alternative  Fisheries Management Scenarios to Respond to Climate Change

Developing Alternative Fisheries Management Scenarios to Respond to Climate Change

Scientists collaborate with stakeholders to evaluate scenarios that predict changes in the distribution and abundance of commercially important fish and shellfish due to climate change. Seafood is a vitally important source of protein. Worldwide, more than three billion people rely on seafood as a significant part of their diets. The amount that we can sustainably fish and farm is based on historical catches and trends that have been monitored for decades. We need to understand their breeding cycles and growth rates, along with cyclical patterns of ocean currents and climate—and the ecosystems they live in. This allows us to build models that inform sustainable management strategies for harvesting seafood. However, climate change continues to disrupt long-standing expectations, strate...
The State of Spill Response: On-Scene Perspectives

The State of Spill Response: On-Scene Perspectives

Founding Father Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” The same could be said of maritime oil, fuel and pollutant spill response. From the historic tragedies of the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon spills to the common hydraulic leak in the local marina, sailors both amateur and professional charge into action to stop the toxic spread. Whether these responders command a fleet of skimmer vessels or use a fistful of absorbent wipes, the spirit of stewardship for commercial fishing livelihoods and the environment exists in us all. Fortunately, spill response has come a long way over the decades and now is a professional field with seasoned experts. Herein are a few of their perspectives on the state of West Coast and Pacific spill respons...
Climate Change Poses Complex  Array of Issues for Fisheries

Climate Change Poses Complex Array of Issues for Fisheries

The Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have announced plans to allocate more millions to address how climate change affects Pacific salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River. This $60 million investment from the Inflation Reduction Act would also play a role in addressing deferred maintenance and repairs at Mitchell Act-funded hatchery facilities across the Columbia River Basin, the Biden administration said March 22. The funds were first announced in June 2023 as one component of the historic $3.3 billion in investments focused on ensuring the nation’s communities and economies are ready for and resilient to climate change. Of that $3.3 billion, $240 million goes to support Pacific coastal salmon restoration and recovery through inv...
Commercial  Fishermen Have  Questions, Concerns  About West Coast Offshore Wind

Commercial Fishermen Have Questions, Concerns About West Coast Offshore Wind

Although offshore wind projects are common along the East Coast, the West Coast has yet to see any turbines dot the horizon. That’s likely to change in the coming years, however, as the waters have been opened up in California by the federal government. Plans for floating systems are in the works, as well as land-side support facilities. Although the process is moving forward, fishermen still have concerns, and more questions than answers. In 2021, several federal departments announced a shared goal to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy in the U.S. by 2030. And in 2022, President Biden followed that up with another objective: 15 GW of floating offshore wind (OSW) energy by 2035. The first offshore wind lease sale in the Pacific Ocean took place in December 2022. It was a...