Here are some photos from Jake Everich, a friend of mine who fished in Rhode Island, but is now fishing in Alaska. In the photos below, he’s the one facing the camera. They’re pollock fishing. I don’t know much about Alaskan pollock, but I do know that it’s very tightly managed and quite profitable for those in it. In the US, the Alaskan pollock fishery and the Atlantic sea scallop are the two most lucrative fisheries, and they are very different from one another, if not completely opposite: one is high volume, low price; the other’s low volume, high price. Both fisheries are very hard to get “into.” You need considerable capital. In the pollock fishery, they consolidated the fleet down to a few vessels, mostly corporate-owned. Many owner-operators went the way of the buffalo–but not all. Some smaller-boats have hung in there.
Jake sent me this via email:
Pollock “A” Season has just closed, currently waiting for the “B” Season to commence; hopefully it’ll open around the 10th of March.
The amount of fish here is truly inconceivable. A 40 minute tow yielded 75 tons of Pollock. Only Pollock. This is on the Alaskan, a 73-foot boat – one of the smallest in the trawl fishery up here. We literally filled the boat in one tow. One forty-minute tow. Tow size isn’t measured in lbs. – they are measured by tonnage. We managed to get in three trips for “A” Season – a few issues with our head transducer, as well as some backups in the shore-side processors lead to some downtime. That’s fishing. I’m just glad that we left the dock in relatively short order because the Whitefish Trawler’s Association was staging a price-strike, now referred to as a “voluntary stand down”–it’s more politically correct that way. 17 cents a pound, plus an extra 6 cents for for the roe that will be recovered from the fish. Yet, I can go to McDonald’s – right in Kodiak, and get a Fillet O’ Fish Sandwich for $5.09, with tax.
How are things back in Point Judith? Heard about both the Emilia Rose and the Elizabeth Helen; I was quite shaken up after hearing about them. I find that it is all to easy to forget or ignore the dangers that is omnipresent within the fishing industry. We’ve lost three boats so far this Winter, with no lives lost. Two in one week, within one day of each other. Nice boats, top-of-the-line boats. Again, accidents can and do happen to anyone. I heard some things about the latest stock assessment of Gulf of Maine codfish.
Here’s some pictures from that big trip last week.