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I’m Stephanie Mangini. Obstacles aboard the halibut boats. Hear more after this:

Fisheries Observers

Obstacles Aboard

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The 2013 Halibut season began Saturday with many uncertainties, as the fleet trickles out of the harbor fishermen can only wonder what the year will hold. On of the big obstacles this season is the  expanded observer program, bringing a whole new dynamic aboard. Fish Radio asked skippers how there were going to manage an extra person on deck.


The 2013 Halibut season began Saturday with many uncertainties, as the fleet trickles out of the harbor fishermen can only wonder what the year will hold. On of the big obstacles this season is the  expanded observer program, bringing a whole new dynamic aboard. Fish Radio asked skippers how there were going to manage an extra person on deck.

“Well ya knows quite honestly I’m going to have to hire one less crew member. It sucks but we don’t have space. Even though this is a 58 footer, this boat was built in 78′. We are not a super 8, and we don’t have the luxury of having seven bunks. It’s sad but I have already let one of my crew members know that he might not  have a job this year. My quota share holders who some of them are elderly they come on board the boat. So I got to keep a bunk available for the quota share holder and two crew and me and than an observer. We got five bunks. I’m not going to ask a crew member to sleep in the galley.”

The 40ft vessel limit leaves little space for the skippers and their crew.

“It will be hard. Because a 42ft boat, we are leaving in an area that’s probably 12ft x12ft and I have three crew members, with the wife (the admiral) and the skipper, and than maybe an observer. It will be tight.”

Personal space is a requirement  for the observers. Which on a smaller boat is nearly non existent.”

“The personal space just isn’t there. I’d have to give up my bunk, and then they have to have their own space and then they have to have a space for working on the deck, which is going to be really tight. I carry 50 tubs of gear, and anchors, and buoy lines, it’s hard to even get the unloaders on the boat to unload all of it so, it will be difficult.”

Around 16 vessels will be drawn from several pools between now until November. Placing observers on board each boat for two month periods.

“We are a family business. I work with my son, my son-in-law and my son in law’s brother. It’s unfortunate, but I have no other choice but to cross my fingers and hope I don’t get picked. If I don’t get picked then I get to carry my full crew. But if I get chosen I got to leave a guy in town. Which means me and the other guys are going to have to work harder.”

Only time will tell if the new observer program is worth the trouble.

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 Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, celebrating 101 years of partnership with Alaska’s coastal communities. www.oceanbeauty.com  In Kodiak, I’m Stephanie Mangini.

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