Fishermen’s Blog Log
2010 Season

model of the F/V Kruzof

Model of Kruzof built by Randy Holmberg

Previous Blog Logs:

 

Helping with decorations
One of those "awesome creations"
- Kupono, my 5 year old grand nephew, sort of helping decorate the Christmas tree.  Actually we decorated him.

December - This month is always busy as year end business decisions, account cleansing, and next year licensing collides with the holidays.  Plus it was a crazy month for fish sales as Alaskan seafood seems to be a great Christmas present choice for many around the country.  Rhonda was like a little Christmas Elf keeping track of shipments crisscrossing the nation.

In spite of our busyness the Christmas tree got put up and the Spirit has us stirred to always remember what is most important-- God's Grace that keeps us here, and the awesome creations of our Creator that allows us to keep doing what we do. Its humbling and we are thankful.   We hope you had a blessed Christmas!  

 


November - This month we we attended more meetings, did some networking, then did a little industrial shopping and marketing at the Pacific Marine Expo. We attended the NMFS Plan Team and IPHC meetings to learn about fish stock status, and  Rhonda was a guest on a Direct Marketing panel that was sponsored by National Fisherman.

Pacific Marine ExpoAt the Pacific Marine Expo, meeting up with my nieces Whitney and Memry. Memry is happy to have survived a long Chignik seine season.
Profitable Harvest ForumOutgoing Editor of National Fisherman, Jerry Frasier hosting the "Profitable Harvest" forum.  Rhonda is 2nd from the right.

 


October -After months of catching fish, our focus shifted to some serious, and time consuming policy work. Re-structuring of the Observer program for the groundfish and halibut fleet was approaching final action at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council Meeting, and industry needed to weigh in. Result of new changes could mean a three time increase in observer coverage costs for certain vessels and sectors.  We followed the issue from the Observer Advisory Committee, to commenting at the Advisory Panal and to the Council.  During Council debates it was interesting theater at the meeting watching our State representatives do a great job in simplifying NMFS Agency complex coverage and financial tables for other council members.  They also kept them from getting more money than we think they will need to run the program.  We fought off a 2% fee for a 1.25% fee on the raw fish value of our fish. However we won't really know if is too much or too little until the program actually gets started, and the price and volume of annual fish catch is determined. If interested in more detail about the program go to http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/current_issues/observer/observer.htm


August & September - The Kruzof took its seasonal journey to Southeast Alaska to fish sablefish in Clarence & Chatham Straits, then Southeast Alaska.  They landed all the product in Petersburg at the Alaska Marine Line's Dock.  AML was very accommodating and we really appreciated the logistic and freight services the staff provided us. The offloads went smooth but were especially complicated in trying to meet the demand of several customers wanting different sizes to go to three different countries. Crewmember, Kit Durnil was a great help in following through on the load plan getting size grades stowed in the right place and maximizing container weights.

After catching the southeast offshore product they picked up more sablefish on the way home in the West Yakutat region. Catching the fish later in the season proved fruitful as 80% of the individual fish, headed and gutted, weighed over 5 pounds.

Gaffing
Scott gaffing some Chatham Straight sablefish.
Rockfish
Son, Scott and cousin Douglas in the background sporting a big Thornyhead rockfish caught in Clarence Straits. This year's record was 27 lbs in the round.

 

 

 

 

glaze tank
Product coming out of freezer going into the glaze tank.
Lonnie
Chatham Strait permit holder, Lonnie Chestnut. We always enjoy his company and the many stories he has to share.

 

Shortraker rockfish
Big Shortrakers rockfish caught out of Clarence Straights.
coils
Comparing Father Son coil piles. Looks like Daddy Jim is losing his touch with the high pile on the right.

 

family reunion
Mini family reunion in Petersburg-  Scott's Grandma Marge, cousin Sara, and Aunt Tamera. Tamera's skinny hotcakes were delicious.
Offloading at the dock
Kit Durnil handling a load at the AML dock in Petersburg.

 


Halibut Trip July 2010Jim, Allen, Kevin, IPHC intern, Monica, Mike and Scott

July - Over a two trip period we accommodated three extra IFQ holders (80 years and older) and a Pacific Halibut Commission intern who came along to document the age and sex of the halibut.  The change in company was nice and fish was caught in a timely fashion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mike holding a big one
Mike Jones holding one of the big ones, and Rockfish flipping in the boat in the background

June - After some anxious inquiries from our customers for sablefish, we finally landed a trip for their liking- lots of big fish.  If we fished earlier, it would have been more 3-5 size fish versus the 5/up size fish we caught on this trip.  Customers spanned from the Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage, Canada, Japan and Europe, and I still needed more to fill demands in Singapore and the U.S. market.  Its always fun to trade in a sellers market, just need more fish to sell. 

Also this month Jim got the word that he did not make the cut as Governor Parnell's primary North Council nominee. The Secretary of State instead chose incumbent, and the Governor's alternate choice.  The speculation is that the choice got political among party lines, which is quite unfortunate.  Fisheries policy should not be determined based on political leanings, as much as it should be about how to best manage and sustain the resource for the public good by providing jobs, food and respect for our natural environment.  Nevertheless, we wish Mr. Cotton and all the other council, advisory panel and staff members well as they work to formulate fisheries policy for Alaska.  We look forward in continuing to participate in the process.


May - Jim needed a new challenge so in addition to fishing pacific cod he ventured up to the Bering Sea to participate in the Turbot Fishery. Prices were said to be decent, even for the heads. After a few weather days in Dutch Harbor, the hunt started. Thinking he could pick up at his past production spots from several years ago, it wasn't long before he realized a new search was needed. Several searches here and there took him farther north to meet the ice pack. It provided little and going as far as the Russian Border was not an option. After three weeks of dismal catch results, cutting losses became a better option. The boat and crew were able to end on a good note however by picking up some halibut in the Western Gulf on their way home.

Our mystery fish
This was not one of our target species. It is known as a Puffer Fish and sold as "Fugu" in Japanese restaurants - a deadly meal if not processed correctly because of deadly poison located in their organs.
Bering Sea Ice
Thanks to the ice pack up in the Bering Sea, somewhere close to Latitude 60, the stormy seas were held down.

 

Castle Cape Castle Cape in view off in the distance

Fur Seals
Frolicking fur seals trying to pick up a snack from our gear

 

TurbotThe turbot looked good, just couldn't find enough of them

 


April - In March, Jim was honored to be nominated by the Governor’s office to serve on the North Pacific Management Council. While being greatly encouraged by his peers, Jim is struggling already over the time it will take from his more comfortable profession as a fisherman and boat operator. And then there is all that sitting. However he’s told the chairs are comfortable.

(See Jim's nomination letter for a seat on the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council from Governor Parnell-- We'll know in June if folks in Washington formally appoint him.)

Industry support letters for Jim's appointment to the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council

If confirmed he will attend his first meeting in October after some initial briefing on council processes. Industry and State officials selected Jim based presumably on the fact that more fishermen with less company/political interest should be welcomed to serve. Jim attended the April Council meetings to touch base with folks and familiarize himself on what he could possibly see him (or not see) himself doing. His main concern is if he can actually make a difference in formulating fisheries policy in Alaska while remaining principled and not having to get too political.

Jim and I ended the month with a trip to the Isles of Hawaii- Kauai and Oahu. On Kauai we found favor at a local fish market near Rice street, and on Oahu we visited Pier 38 where fishermen's fish go on the auction block. We compared notes with local fishermen, a local NMFS agent and Sean Martin who serves on the West Pacific Management Council. Unfortunately we forgot our camera so the post card will have to serve as proof of our trip.


March weather in Alaska

March - The IPHC set the Halibut opening early this year, March 6th. It was blowing, cold, and icing conditions. The trip proved fruitful with prices high due to low inventories. After the first opening the prices dropped like a rock. Rather than going on another halibut trip, we contemplated a sablefish trip. The market for sablefish was also quite good due to low inventories and improved demand in the domestic and European markets in addition to the Asian markets. Weather didn’t cooperate with the plan, and because the fish come in small in the spring, it was decided to finally take an extended vacation from fishing.

 

 


 

January-February – Jim and the crew arrived in Seward from Seattle on January 15th after a long repair and maintenance stint in Washington. Such included a paint job, reefer repairs, upgrades in the galley, and a big switcharoo in the captain’s stateroom (all things starboard went port and all things port went starboard), allowing for a larger bunk and more storage space

The Kruzof started fishing/freezing January 21st in Central Gulf for Pacific Cod, however to the chagrin of operations it closed five days later. Then it was decision time, Eastern Gulf or the state water fishery in Prince Wm Sound to continue fishing and load the boat. It was the latter. Delivery time came in mid February. Then it was break time until the halibut opening.

 

Pacific Cod RoePacific Cod Roe, one of the many ancillary products of Pacific cod that has marketability.
Kruzof in for repairsThe Kruzof in for repair.

 

Pacific Cod from the Central Gulf and PWSThis years pacific cod catch from the Central Gulf and PWS
2010 Sablefish productThis years pacific cod catch from the Central Gulf and PWS.