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|Wednesday, December 02, 2009|
I caught up with Nick Furman while he was driving up the Oregon Coast this morning, and it didn’t take me long to figure out that he was liking what he was seeing: a gorgeous, clear day out on the water, boats working relatively calm seas, fishermen hauling in pot after pot boiling with Dungeness crabs.
This is good news for the 900 or so skippers and deckhands who get paid by the pound rather than the hour for their labor in the Dungeness crab fishery. It also bodes well for the buyers who market and process the catch, led by Clackamas powerhouse Pacific Seafoods, one of Oregon’s most successful private companies. Fishermen and processors have been known to duke it out over price, but this year it’s looking like there will be enough money to go around. Last year’s crab catch was worth $26 million to fisherman and Furman is optimistic this season will prove even more lucrative. This will boost coastal economies from Coos Bay to Astoria because the more money fishermen make, the more they spend.
People who believe the fishing industry is a thing of the past are as wrong as people who believe nobody in America is willing to do hard work anymore. A trip to sea on a crab boat could be a great eye-opener for anyone who holds those misconceptions.
Oregon’s crab fishermen have come a long way in modernizing their industry, to improve safety and gain certification as providers of sustainably harvested wild seafood. But when you get right down to it, their work is as wild as the environment they work in and the species they are hunting. I’m willing to bet that most of them wouldn’t have it any other way.
(Flickr photo at left by Dave Parker.)
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