Fishermen’s Blog Log
2012 Season

model of the F/V Kruzof

Model of Kruzof built by Randy Holmberg

Previous Blog Logs:

 

 

 

 

December

Jim with a winter king
Christmas King thanks to Salmon Troller and fellow Longliner, Austin Sollars of F/V Jani K

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.

 

 

 

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.

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

 

 

August / September

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.

Live Bleeding has a significant impact on the final productKruzof Sablefish 2012 – Live bleeding makes a difference.
Rhonda's survival trainingRhonda performed survival suit training in Chatham Strait. The take away was that she needs a suit that fits better.

 

 

subsistent caught shellfishJuliAnn Curry, Allen, & Nephew Grant enjoying some subsistent caught shellfish from Southeast.
These guys make it happenThese guys make it happen.

 

June – July

The Kruzof headed west towards Sand Point to harvest 3B Halibut. It didn’t come easy. Then there was a problem with mis-numbered oil filters on the engine which caused the boat to go dead in the water for a bit. Jim did some quick modifications to help it limp into Kodiak. The problem occurred with a new order of oil filters that got numerically mis-matched to the engine. The right filters were found and installed. The vessel left Kodiak just as Rhonda arrived to attend the North Council Meetings and testify for a reduced by-catch of halibut by the trawlers.

After a break for Independence day, Jim harvested halibut for his usual group of elders—Dick, Larry and Max. Rhonda also went on one of the trips to have her share harvested. In spite of her affinity to seasickness she endured, but was more happy to land at the dock on a beautiful day with an adequate catch.

Rhonda’s By-Catch- Rockfish & LingCod, thanks to JimRhonda’s By-Catch- Rockfish & LingCod, thanks to Jim
Jim showing his diverse skill as engineer, captain, & bookkeeper
Jim showing his diverse skill as engineer, captain, & bookkeeper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim- enjoys keeping his floors waxed. What Captain does that? 
Jim- enjoys keeping his floors waxed. What Captain does that?
Halibut Quota holder Larry Billman from Minnesota
Halibut Quota holder Larry Billman from Minnesota

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

The CutshallsJim with Max and Donna Cutshall
The sales pitch
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)>

Luray CavernsA novelty at the Luray Caverns in Virginia-- this part of the tour was called the "fish house" given the fascinating stalactite formations.
Virginia ClassroomRhonda and Jim showing off the Alaskan seafood industry to students in Virginia.

 

Time for a BreakBreaks over. Its time to go find the flag and bag.
WeddingCleaned up Fisherman and Farmers (Jim, Gene, Beth & Rhonda) at
Nephew Phil's wedding.

 

 

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.

Jim on the tractor
Jim plowing our front walkway
with his tractor toy
2012 Kruzof crew2012 Kruzof crew, (L to R) Ole Haynes Paul Shtyba, Kit Durnil, Allen Burkhart, Mike Jones, Captn Jim

Alaska CodFAS Ak. Cod
Shortrakershortraker Rockfish

 



 

Oil Containment
Working the oil containment systems

In March and into April, North Council Management meetings were held in Anchorage. The main item of interest on the agenda was the Catch Share Plan (www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/PDFdocuments/halibur/CSPmotion412.pdf). This issue of allocation and management measures for the Halibut Charter fleet is going on 18 years and still not resolved through the council process and interested stakeholders.

In late April the Kruzof participated in the annual oil response training exercise in Resurrection Bay. Jim was appointed as the pilot vessel that organized all other participants into teams. Our other crewmember, Kit Durnil was helpful in assisting Jim in keeping the vessels organized as he gave dispatch orders to the fleet.

 

AYFS attendeesAYFS attendees in front of State Capitol

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.