Article Category: Features

West Coast Companies Compete at Seafood Expo North America

West Coast Companies Compete at Seafood Expo North America

Pacific-side products advance through competitions for national recognition in a seafood smackdown. West Coast seafood products will be well represented at this year’s Seafood Expo North America competition, taking place in Boston March 10-12. Many of the region’s contenders earned their shot by winning first place in the annual Alaska Symphony of Seafood competition hosted at the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle in November 2023. Symphony of Seafood is a contest for commercial-ready products made from Alaska seafood. “The significance of the Alaska Symphony of Seafood is that it showcases new, value-added products made from Alaska seafood,” said Julie Cisco, executive administrator of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF), which organizes and promotes the competition. Ac...
Newbuild Fishing Boats Focus on Technology, Efficiency

Newbuild Fishing Boats Focus on Technology, Efficiency

Recent trends for building new commercial fishing boats focus on efficiency, modern technology and new systems for refrigeration, fuel and propulsion. Fishermen’s News reached out to some West Coast companies to find out what they’re prioritizing when they design a new vessel. Mike Carr, an engineer/designer with ACI Boats, a builder based out of Port Townsend, Wash., highlighted several areas of focus for his company. Carr has been commercial fishing in Bristol Bay since 2002 and began operating his own boat in 2010. “When it comes to new technology, one of our main priorities is to sort the wheat from the chaff,” Carr said. “Some technologies can create new capabilities or provide a cost-effective alternative to older technologies, but it is easy to go astray.” “The wrong decisions...
Boat Maintenance Can Save Operators Big Money, Increase Safety

Boat Maintenance Can Save Operators Big Money, Increase Safety

The importance of vessel maintenance and safety preparedness may be best driven home by federal data that show an average of 43 people die each year in commercial fishing incidents, half of which occur after a vessel disaster. These disasters are sometimes unpreventable, but experts say that making safety and vessel maintenance a top priority when preparing for the upcoming fishing season can enable crews to better handle emergencies. Regular maintenance also can help prevent costly repairs that may put vessels out of commission when there’s money to be made. Figures from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) tracking trends in U.S. commercial fishing fatalities from 2000 to 2019 show commercial fishermen experience work-related fatalities at a rate over 40...
State of Pacific Northwest Fisheries, 2024

State of Pacific Northwest Fisheries, 2024

A bird’s eye view of the region’s commercial fisheries. With 2023 behind us and a new year underway, we thought it was a good time to draw upon state, private sector and federal sources for a bird’s eye view of last year and what’s likely in store for 2024 in Pacific Northwest commercial fisheries. For many in the salmon and albacore tuna fisheries, 2023 was a brutal year. Why? The big pain points appear to be off the water versus fish stock issues. Global markets have been shaken with the price of fish dropping and costs, like fuel, rising sharply. A few new regulations came into effect, like the banning of lighted squid boats in Oregon and anti-whale entanglement regulations for crabbers. But the news isn’t all bad. The Dungeness crab harvest is down a bit, but red rock crab seemed...
Arctic Climate Report Shares Data  on Salmon Troubles in Western Alaska

Arctic Climate Report Shares Data on Salmon Troubles in Western Alaska

Wild salmon in Western Alaska are engaged in constant battle with land and ocean heat waves, among other challenges, resulting in fewer fish returning to the Yukon River, according to the annual Arctic Report Card, a collaborative effort of NOAA Fisheries and other stakeholders. The NOAA Fisheries 2023 Ecosystem Status Reports for Alaska, released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Dec. 15, contains special sections on salmon, which note that in 2022, 81% fewer king salmon returned than average to the Yukon River, a new record low and part of a long-term decline seen across Alaska. The report also notes that the cause of the decline is complex and that researchers have found possible links to water temperature, disease and declining size of the fish. The ...
Health & Wellbeing Tips for Fishermen

Health & Wellbeing Tips for Fishermen

To say that fishing is a tough job is an understatement. The long hours. The physical strain. The mental focus. Add rough weather and shorter fishing seasons to the mix and the work not only gets tougher for the commercial angler, but it can sometimes lead to injury. Richard Ogg, a longtime fisherman from Bodega Bay, Calif., can remember fishing 12 days straight and operating on a few hours of sleep each night. But the volume of product and the amount of money to be made was significant. “Your whole yearly income can be made in a matter of a few weeks or a month in the season, so that pressure to get things done—you just make it happen,” Ogg said. “The potential for injury is significant because you’re pushing so hard and you’re trying to do everything you can to make ends meet as quic...
Fishing Gear, Supplies and Equipment:  What’s on the Radar

Fishing Gear, Supplies and Equipment: What’s on the Radar

A glance at commercial fishing gear n’ goodies on the market. Those who attended Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle Nov. 8-10 know just how disorienting the marketplace can be. A simple need to upgrade old deck boots can easily spiral into an epic decision. Everyone has an opinion. For fishermen, who depend on their equipment to keep them safe, words like “love” and “hate” are used to describe objects as simple as a snap hook or knife. “Gear” is also an expansive, poorly defined term in our world that applies to anything from work bibs and jackets for crew to equipment like innovative new slinky cod pots or fish bailers. Essentially, pretty much anything in-use during fishing operations that isn’t the vessel itself is labeled as “gear.” In this article, we focus on a mix of personal crew g...
BC Government Spends Millions on Restoring Habitat; Harvesters Say They’re Awaiting Results

BC Government Spends Millions on Restoring Habitat; Harvesters Say They’re Awaiting Results

Pacific salmon are fundamental to the livelihoods, culture and spiritual lives of thousands of British Columbians, as they are in America’s Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Sadly, climate change, habitat degradation and foreign market competition are leaving them exceedingly vulnerable.  “Many key Pacific salmon stocks are declining to historic lows, facing persistent and severe challenges at every stage of their lifecycle due to the negative impacts of climate change, habitat degradation, land and water use, acute events like toxic spills and landslides and harvest pressure,” Lara Sloan, communications adviser to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), told Fishermen’s News. “The planet is warming, and the most recent years have been the warmest on record,” Sloan noted. “In Canada, the rate o...
West Coast Anglers  to See New and Amended Rules, Regulations in 2024

West Coast Anglers to See New and Amended Rules, Regulations in 2024

Although the process to set or amend fishing-related regulations in West Coast states doesn’t necessarily line up with the calendar year, there are a number of rules or changes that were proposed, recently adopted or are to be implemented in 2024. Fishermen’s News reached out to officials in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii to find out some of the new rules and regulations that may impact commercial fishers working in Pacific waters in the upcoming season. There are also a few notable federal laws and amendments to plans and programs coming with the new year. Groundfish Fishery Management On Aug. 30, NOAA Fisheries proposed regulations that would implement amendment 32, anticipated to become effective in early 2024, to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management ...
Redd Zone Supplies a Complete Salmon Hatchery in 40-Foot Container

Redd Zone Supplies a Complete Salmon Hatchery in 40-Foot Container

After a career of over 30 years in the non-profit hatchery movement in Alaska and Oregon, Tod Jones was looking forward to retirement—until he had a “eureka” moment in 2019 while visiting a salmon hatchery near Hood Canal in northwest Washington. He had been invited by members of the Skokomish tribe to advise them on ways to improve their output of around a million salmon eggs per year, but found there was very little room for expansion: the hatchery was built into a steep slope above a creek that provided a reliable supply of gravity-fed water. “That was where I first had the idea of prefabricating a complete hatchery in a 40-foot shipping container,” he told me when I stopped by his workshop on the east side of Astoria, Oregon.  Surrounded by containers, incubation boxes and pipes, ...