Alaska Fishermen Hauling A Bigger Catch With Gear They Get To Use For The First Time
Longtime Alaska fisherman Bill Harrington has a few choices words about killer whales. "As far as I'm concerned, they're only thieves in tuxedos," Harrington says. In the coming years, longline fishermen in western Alaska will be allowed to catch halibut in longline pots, also known as traps in other parts of the country.
He's retired now, but a video from a decade ago shows him pulling in his line as he curses out a pod of killer whales swarming his boat. His catch is exposed; he is not happy. A sperm whale bursts out of the water and Harrington tells them what he really thinks. He knows even just a couple of killer whales could pick his line clean.
The video was taken a decade ago and Harrington says the problem of whales stealing fish off longlines has only gotten worse.
Harrington and his crew would travel a hundred miles or more and bait thousands of hooks attached to a commercial fishing line by hand. They would then anchor the line to the ocean floor between two buoys.
But now fishermen are taking advantage of new regulations that let them fish with a previously banned piece of gear.