As noted in my last post, the state Board of Fisheries soon will consider whether to eliminate the longstanding 32-foot vessel length limit in the state's biggest salmon fishery at Bristol Bay.
In the past, I suppose I always considered this proposal rather narrowly.
Could an aggressive fisherman pack more sockeye than his competitors? Could he add chilling or even processing equipment to maximize the value of his catch?
Or might a bigger boat allow the bay's more boorish players to simply bully smaller boats off the line?
Well, on my recent visit to Seattle I ran into a fisherman who broadened my perspective a little. He made two points I'd never considered before.
First, he said bigger boats wouldn't necessarily offer an advantage, as they would have a deeper draft and couldn't fish shallow waters like lighter boats.
Second, a bigger vessel might offer fishermen more versatility. For example, the boat could be used not only to net sockeye at Bristol Bay, but also to work in waters or fisheries such as halibut that ideally require more size.
Deckboss is confident plenty more points will be made at the board's Dec. 1-8 meeting at the downtown Hilton hotel in Anchorage.