Article Category: Features

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, ...
Commercial Vessel Deck Machinery: Innovations in the Industry

Commercial Vessel Deck Machinery: Innovations in the Industry

The innovation of deck machinery for commercial fishing vessels is ever-present in the maritime industry. While a winch will always be a winch, a newer model may pack the same power in a smaller footprint. A crane is always a crane, but the modern version may be all-electric. And the list goes on. Herein some of the deck machinery industry’s major players discuss their newest and best-selling products, as well as industry trends. Markey Machine Seattle-based Markey Machine saw an ownership shift late last year, closing a growth investment with Christian Schiller and Brian Bogen. “The new ownership arrangement offers many advantages, particularly in the area of future growth of Markey,” according to Scott Atkinson, Markey Machine’s vice president of business development. “Markey’s ren...
Arctic Fjord Makes American Boatbuilding History

Arctic Fjord Makes American Boatbuilding History

New pollock-surimi catcher-processor departs Seattle for working life in the Bering Sea. The next time someone glibly states that “America just doesn’t make anything anymore,” you may want to shove this article in their face. The brand new, 99.3-meter (326-foot) Arctic Fjord factory trawler of Seattle-based Arctic Storm Management Group departed Puget Sound in October, bound for her inaugural working season after a harrowing five-year build-and-deliver saga through hurricane and pandemic challenges. The Rolls-Royce-designed vessel, dubbed a Rolls-Royce NVC 336 WP, is touted by the company as the largest fishing vessel ever built in the United States. She’s also the first American-built new vessel for the wild Alaska pollock catcher-processor fleet in over 30 years. Arctic Fjord was b...
Offshore Wind’s Risks, Opportunities Explored in New Report

Offshore Wind’s Risks, Opportunities Explored in New Report

Offshore Wind (OSW) is a rapidly growing industry and a heightened policy focus under the Biden administration, which is pushing development of OSW around the country, including several planned West Coast projects. Offshore wind is also big issue for the commercial fishing industry, and has been making commercial fishermen anxious for a number or reasons, due to unanswered questions such as how floating wind turbines could affect California’s marine life (including noise from building and running wind farms), as well as whether electromagnetic fields could harm Pacific Coast salmon and other fish stocks. Now, a new report from a global insurer that examines the opportunities and risks of OSW highlights some new concerns with these projects, as well as the developing infrastructure and ...