Issue: November 2022

California Worker Classification

California Worker Classification

Some important news for professional fishermen and women in California occurred in September: the state’s governor signed a bill that provides anglers a two-year exemption from the state’s so-called ABC test, which is used to determine whether workers are employees or independent contractors. Under the ABC test, a person being paid to provide labor or services is considered an employee rather than an independent contractor unless the hiring entity can prove that the person is an independent contractor. A worker is considered an employee and not an independent contractor unless the employer satisfies all three of the following conditions: The worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for...
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...
Vessel Profile: The Western Flyer Returns

Vessel Profile: The Western Flyer Returns

The Tacoma-built purse seiner of Steinbeck fame prepares for a new working life. The Western Flyer was in dire straits when it was found by John Gregg on the Swinomish Channel in 2015. The 1937-era wood purse seiner had endured two sinking episodes from 2012 to 2013 and appeared no different than the many doomed derelict workboats of the world. Yet Gregg, inspired, eagerly bought the Western Flyer for around $1 million. The reason? The Western Flyer is the same purse seiner John Steinbeck and his colleague and marine biologist Ed Ricketts chartered to the Gulf of Mexico in 1940. The expedition to collect and catalogue tidal marine animals is the subject Steinbeck’s Nobel Prize-winning book, The Log from the Sea of Cortez. Out of the Grave & Back to Work Gregg, who’s based in the...
Navigate Commercial Maritime Financing  in a Rising Rate Environment

Navigate Commercial Maritime Financing in a Rising Rate Environment

Lingering post-pandemic challenges, supply chain issues, and pent-up demand has led to rising prices, resulting in a level of inflation not seen in 40 years. It seemed inflation might slow by the end of the summer with a drop in fuel prices. Unfortunately, the government’s September report on the Consumer Price Index showed inflation to be persistent. The Federal Reserve’s response has been a series of interest rate hikes in an attempt to cool this inflationary trend. In turn, borrowers are seeing rates increase on everything from business loans to home mortgages. Increasing rates mean higher loan payments. In this economy, it’s not surprising to feel concerned as the costs of borrowing rise. Many commercial maritime projects are financed. Whether buying new permits or planning vessel ...

Acid Drainage from Abandoned BC Mine Now Closer to Cleanup

Efforts to halt acid drainage from an abandoned British Columbia mine flowing into the salmon-rich Taku River watershed in Southeast Alaska have come a step closer to resolution, with the future of the Tulsequah Chief Mine now in the hands of the provincial government. The BC government is currently in its third season of preliminary work at the site upstream of Southeast Alaska and has committed to its environmental cleanup. But efforts were slowed because the Tulsequah Chief’s bankrupt owner, Chieftain Metals, was searching for a new owner for the copper, zinc and lead mine, which ceased operations in 1957. In mid-August, a court-mandated deadline ended for West Face Capital, the creditor that had hoped to find a buyer for the mine. The conclusion of the receivership process is a majo...
Fishermen Sound Off  on Modern Apparel

Fishermen Sound Off on Modern Apparel

There they are on the television screen—images of flimsy little tents huddled together, flapping in the wind at Mount Everest’s base camp. One can’t help but wonder how these tiny, toy-like shelters can shield their occupants from the horrendous conditions on the Earth’s tallest mountain. The answer: technology.  The research and testing that goes into perfecting those tents protect the climbers from hypothermia. And likewise, the sports apparel industry has spent plenty of time crafting the gear that protects commercial fishermen from the ravages of the mighty seas.  Everything that fishermen wear, from head to toe, needs to fulfill the function of keeping them dry and comfortable. Commercial fishermen don’t wear puffy parkas—they need suits that repel water. They need to be able to p...
Alaska Strategic Plan Focuses  on Next 5 Years

Alaska Strategic Plan Focuses on Next 5 Years

NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska Region strategic plan for 2022-2027 focuses on the most impactful ways the agency can refine its internal processes to leverage its people and apply financial resources to deliver better results, according to regional administrator Jon Kurland. The document, which aligns with the U.S. Department of Commerce and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans for the same years, calls for open communications with staff, partners and stakeholders, and a transparent, priority-based approach to allocate and reallocate staff and discretionary budget over time. The 10-page document, online at https://media.fisheries.noaa.gov/2022-09/akro-strategic-plan-2022.pdf, was released in early September. Its vision is that by 2027 the Alaska region will lead the nation in ...
Fishing Vessel Stability Requirements—Adding Clarity to the Murky Applicability

Fishing Vessel Stability Requirements—Adding Clarity to the Murky Applicability

This is the second article in a three-part series on the topic of fishing vessel stability. Last month’s column covered awareness and training and next month’s will address operational stability and how the use of a vessel can drastically affect its stability. But this issue’s article focuses on regulations and requirements and how some in the industry and even the Coast Guard, fail to recognize when they apply. What, When, Who? – Does This Apply to Me? When it comes to commercial fishing industry vessels 79 feet or greater (that are not required to have a load line), the stability rules are within 46 Code of Federal Regulations Part 28, Subpart E (Stability). You can look up those on your own if you want to read it word for word.  They are most helpful if you are having difficulty fa...
UBC Urges Strong Action to Mitigate Climate Change

UBC Urges Strong Action to Mitigate Climate Change

A new study released by the University of British Columbia is projecting what impact global temperature increases and ranges of fishing activity will have on biomass, or the amount of fish by weight in a given area. The simulations, for a period from 1950 to 2100, suggest that climate change has reduced fish stocks in 103 of 226 marine regions studied, including Canada, from their historical levels. These stocks will struggle to rebuild their numbers under projected global warming levels in the 21st century, the researchers concluded. According to lead study author William Cheung, a professor at Canada’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, more conservation-oriented fisheries management is essential to rebuild exploited fish stocks under climate change. But that alone is not enough, ...
On to the Future

On to the Future

By the time you read this, PCFFA will be under new leadership. Unlike some partings, this one is very amicable. When I came aboard, PCFFA needed a uniter. I think we were very successful in bringing unity to our organization as well as reestablishing relationships with commercial fishing organizations we had lost touch with. Today, PCFFA is in need of someone who can lead the organization to become even more prosperous. Like most fishing organizations, PCFFA has operated on a shoestring budget.  COVID-19 provided challenges, but thanks to some generous donations and COVID relief funds, we persevered. But to accomplish our organizational goals and objectives, we realized we need leadership which has a primary focus of raising funds. With those funds, we will be better situated to remain ...