Article Category: Features

Commercially Fishing for Crab:  Bang or Not? And How Best to Bang?

Commercially Fishing for Crab: Bang or Not? And How Best to Bang?

Many fishing vessels in the Pacific Northwest have installed bang bars (also known as banger bars) to assist crew while they empty Dungeness crab pots into the dump box. There are a variety of designs and range of heights above the dump box or sorting table. The bang bar design depends on a lot of factors, including vessel design, deck layout, crew preference, and fabricator availability. As vessel owners think about what’s best for their situation, it is important to know how the bang bar design could maximize benefits to crew safety and health. Ergonomics experts at Oregon State University (OSU) set out to do just that—find the ‘just right’ bang bar configuration. Crabbing in the Lab In the lab at OSU, we set up a simulated crab pot landing station without a bang bar and with four ...
Preparing Your Boat, Crew for the Upcoming Commercial Fishing Season

Preparing Your Boat, Crew for the Upcoming Commercial Fishing Season

Commercial fishing vessels are built to withstand rough conditions and last for generations, but regular maintenance and upkeep are crucial to keeping them in tip-top shape. It’s particularly important to inspect a boat and its equipment prior to the fishing season after the vessel has been sitting idle for a stretch of time. The same goes for the crew. While you’ll be hard-pressed to find tougher workers than in the commercial fishing industry, the job is demanding, strenuous and dangerous. It can take a toll on even the hardiest of mariners. Being up to date with safety training and ensuring safety equipment is in good-working condition can mean the difference between life and death out on the water. It’s also important to ensure all inspections are completed and permits are in order...
British Columbia Fisheries: Status Update

British Columbia Fisheries: Status Update

The salmon fisheries of BC remain threatened and take center stage in the region’s fisheries dialogue. It’s a new year, which merits a review of British Columbia commercial fisheries in anticipation of the 2023 Salmon Integrated Fishery Management Plans, which are expected to be released for stakeholder consultation in February. A myriad of challenges face B.C. fisheries, with the threatened Pacific salmon stocks taking center stage. When reached for comment, Fisheries and Oceans BC summarized the sentiment. “Pacific salmon is fundamental to the livelihoods of thousands of British Columbians, and central to the cultural and spiritual lives of the Indigenous peoples of our country,” the federal agency said in a statement. “Unfortunately,” the statement continued, “many key Pacific...
Pacific Marine Expo ’22 Recap

Pacific Marine Expo ’22 Recap

Pacific Marine Expo, the largest commercial marine trade show on the West Coast serving commercial mariners, returned to Seattle in November. The event, held Nov. 17-19, attracted thousands of attendees from Alaska to California and beyond. In addition to commercial fishermen, attendees included vessel owner/operators, engineers, architects, seafood processors, port officials, harbor engineers, marine surveyors and others involved in the maritime industry. In addition to hundreds of exhibitor booths, the event featured panel discussions on various topics. The expo offers a variety of informative education sessions covering such topics as marine safety, business management, regulatory issues, technical advancements and more. This year’s event featured 11 panel discussions, including “A...
Smarter, Stronger, More Efficient Fishing Gear on the Market

Smarter, Stronger, More Efficient Fishing Gear on the Market

The latest supplies and equipment geared toward commercial fishermen have been stronger, smarter and more resilient to address the unique challenges those in the industry face. Although that’s how gear in the industry has naturally progressed, recent developments have utilized innovative solutions in order to address several issues. Some of the newest products and trends: creative collaborations for advanced hooks, smart technology in buoys, predator and abrasion resistant netting and an increase in demand for cod coil collapsible slinky pots. Fishermen’s News reached out to several manufacturers and suppliers to find out the latest products on the market, what the big sellers are and recent trends.  LFS INC. There’s been a tendency to move away from having knots, Seine Division Mana...
The Fight Against Illegal Fishing Ramps Up

The Fight Against Illegal Fishing Ramps Up

The global issue of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has come to the fore in a slew of public announcements this year, including one from President Joe Biden. His administration’s Memorandum on Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Associated Labor Abuses on June 27, noted that “illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and related harmful fishing practices are among the greatest threats to ocean health and are significant causes of global overfishing, contributing to the collapse or decline of fisheries that are critical to the economic growth, food systems and ecosystems of numerous countries around the world.” The Executive Branch is hardly alone. A bipartisan bill, S.4773 (IS) Fighting Foreign Illegal Seafood Harvests Act of 2022 (FISH Act), w...
West Coast Fisheries Managers Struggle with Climate Change, Drought Challenges

West Coast Fisheries Managers Struggle with Climate Change, Drought Challenges

A long-term research project that provides vital food sources to juvenile Chinook salmon in California’s river floodplains is utilizing rice fields at rest to help these endangered fish grow robust. In Oregon, removal of four dams is anticipated to begin in 2023 to protect salmon recovery and in Washington state, officials say breaching the four Lower Snake River dams is not yet an option. Meanwhile along the West Coast from California to Alaska, as states struggle with the adverse impact of climate change on fisheries, as well as the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government is providing for a second round of relief funding. Those eligible are commercial fishing shellfish, charter and seafood sector industry members who suffered negative financial impacts. The ...
Vessel Profile: R/V Resilience

Vessel Profile: R/V Resilience

The Department of Energy anticipates its first hybrid-electric research vessel. The r/v Resilience, a hybrid electric research vessel being built by Seattle-based contractor Snow & Company, is expected to join the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory-Sequim (PNNL) fleet in April 2023. The PNNL is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories, managed by the department’s Office of Science. The laboratory houses several scientific user facilities and research facilities. “They (PNNL) have a fleet of two boats right now and they wanted to expand with (the addition of) a larger vessel with more capabilities,” Snow & Company Project Manager and Estimator Chris Watson told Pacific Maritime. “Snow & Company is the builder, doing all the production engineering, and Inc...
Fishing Careers: Efforts Being Made to Attract, Keep Young Harvesters

Fishing Careers: Efforts Being Made to Attract, Keep Young Harvesters

Twenty-one-year-old Megan Wallace of Kodiak readily admits that commercial fishing is a gamble, one involving hard work, long hours and yes, at times, danger. “But I like how the hard work pays off,” she told Fishermen’s News. “It’s a great feeling when you catch a lot of fish.” On a break from harvesting in mid-October, Wallace mused about the adventures she’s had of late. In 2021, Wallace spent 10 months crewing at sea, harvesting salmon in Bristol Bay, halibut in Area 4A near Dutch Harbor for halibut, Pacific cod in the Central and Western Gulf of Alaska, and then the Bering Sea A season for cod and the western Bering Sea for Bairdi crab. “I just love everything about it, the challenge,” she said. “This is something a girl can do.  I just love the rush and the whole process. My goa...
Fishing Safety: Caution Advised Re: Energy Drinks, Electronics for Good Health, Sleep

Fishing Safety: Caution Advised Re: Energy Drinks, Electronics for Good Health, Sleep

Eating bad food makes you feel good, because nothing makes you happier than a satisfying meal, but seafood harvesters devoted to that career should make better choices, according to Jerry Dzugan, an outspoken advocate for the longevity of Alaska’s graying fleet of fishermen. As the director and an instructor for the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association for well over three decades, Dzugan has plenty of experience in teaching ergonomics, the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. He informs fishermen about how to use specific exercises to avoid and also recuperate from injuries sustained at sea. An advocate of fishing safety, Dzugan also has plenty of tips for all age groups in the fishing industry on diet, exercise and getting enough rest to be in top form when...