Captain’s Log 2012

December

The year is never complete without some unfinished business it seems. This time it was trying to swallow the newly Re-structure Observer Program rolled out in October by Agency. With little time to correct some much need tweaks for certain size vessels and fishing sectors, many in the industry left the December Council meeting frustrated to say the least. The second piece was being left with an unusual amount of sablefish in inventory. Pressure was on to get paid and settlements out before taxes go up.

So we left the year with added regulations, unsold production and peering over the fiscal cliff. However we refused to let that get in the way of enjoying Family, Children and Friends for some good Southeast King and Smoked Sablefish Sushi for Christmas. At least we are still eating well.

Christmas King thanks to Salmon Troller and fellow Longliner, Austin Sollars of F/V Jani K

October - November

In spite of great effort by the fleet, Sablefish harvest went much slower than last year, further enhanced by whale predation. Plus bait and fuel expenses mounted while fish prices dropped. Jim pulled through though with some “Hail Mary” sets that actually produced before the season closed (an accomplishment we doubted was going to happen).

We considered this the Providential counter-balance at work proving we are not in control and providing a faithful reminder of our vulnerability and personal humility. Praying for wisdom and new insights was high on the list this month.

Preparing the last van load of the season – Thank God!
Kruzof harbored in Kodiak for a week waiting for better weather

August

The Kruzof geared up for its long trip from home to Southeast Alaska to harvest Sablefish quota from West Yakutat, Southeast Alaska and in State fisheries in Chatham and Clarence Straits. Rhonda joined the Kruzof in August. Given the calm and sunny weather her break from the office was welcomed and akin to a cruise for her.

Rhonda performed survival suit training in Chatham Strait. The take away was that she needs a suit that fits better.
Kruzof Sablefish 2012 – Live bleeding makes a difference.
These guys make it happen.
JuliAnn Curry, Allen, & Nephew Grant enjoying some subsistent caught shellfish from Southeast.

June - July

The Kruzof geared up for its long trip from home to Southeast Alaska to harvest Sablefish quota from West Yakutat, Southeast Alaska and in State fisheries in Chatham and Clarence Straits. Rhonda joined the Kruzof in August. Given the calm and sunny weather her break from the office was welcomed and akin to a cruise for her.

Jim showing his diverse skill as engineer, captain, & bookkeeper
Rhonda’s By-Catch- Rockfish & LingCod, thanks to Jim
Halibut Quota holder Larry Billman from Minnesota
Jim- enjoys keeping his floors waxed. What Captain does that?

May

May was a month of travel and prepping for the next fishing trip. Our travels took us to Minnesota and South Dakota to visit our elder Halibut quota holders. Jim really liked checking out the big farm tractors as we drove from one state to the next. Then we went to West Virginia to attend a nephews wedding and visit sister Beth’s Farmer’s Market where some of our fish is sold. While there we were also invited to speak with some High School honors students about how our fisheries are managed in Alaska. We shared the types of fish and fishing methods that occur around our state coupled with management practices and policy challenges that affect what we do and how we operate.

By month end the insurance bill has arrived and needs to be paid, coupled with a large order of bait and gear. Yes, its time to get away from the dock and re-visit the fishing grounds.

Jim and Scott pitching a good sale of fish at the Farmers Market in Winchester, Va. (see them on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Freight-Station-Farmers-Market/304266982986)
Jim with Max and Donna Cutshall
Rhonda and Jim showing off the Alaskan seafood industry to students in Virginia.
A novelty at the Luray Caverns in Virginia-- this part of the tour was called the "fish house" given the fascinating stalactite formations.
Cleaned up Fisherman and Farmers (Jim, Gene, Beth & Rhonda) at Nephew Phil's wedding.
Breaks over. Its time to go find the flag and bag.

March - April

The snow continued to dump in our area, which made it difficult to leave the home front for any length of time. This winter season provided nearly a record snow fall for Seward.

Around mid to late March the Kruzof landed some Frozen @ Sea Alaska Cod from Prince William Sound. Although season was short-lived at only 6 days long, we had time to accumulate a container load of H&G Cod, but landed it when the market was full and interested buyers were dropping out. Consequently prices were not the best and the product spent some time in cold storage before being sold.

2012 Kruzof crew, (L to R) Ole Haynes Paul Shtyba, Kit Durnil, Allen Burkhart, Mike Jones, Captn Jim
shortraker Rockfish
shortraker Rockfish
FAS Ak. Cod
Jim plowing our front walkway with his tractor toy

January - February

We coined this period the “meeting season” , however it is ongoing and often exhausting. Jim and I shared our presence and/or comments at the following meetings; International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC)-in Anchorage, North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) in Seattle, Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit (AYFS) in Juneau, Board of Fisheries (BOF)- in Ketchikan, and Chatham Strait Stock Status review meeting in Sitka. All contained issues of interest pertaining to our business.

The most notable and encouraging meeting for us was attending the AYFS. This is the 4th Summit put on by the Alaska Sea Grant program. Being held in Juneau for the first time seemed at first challenging, but proved exceptional. Aspiring young fishermen from all all over the State convened to learn more on how to be professional fishermen as they were provided information and training in the areas of Science, Marketing, Fisheries Business & Risk Management, and the Fisheries Policy process. The Summit culminated with connecting attendees with their area legislators, and having the opportunity to testify on certain fisheries legislation that was of their interest. It was a packed agenda, but perfectly practical. Jim and I were glad to help with mentoring and guidance as seasoned fishery participants. We look forward to seeing the next generation of fishermen running their businesses successfully and having a strong voice in future fisheries policy.

AYFS attendees in front of State Capitol
Print Friendly, PDF & Email