SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Fish Factor

TV Search Underway For Sea Star


November 10, 2008
Monday AM

Do you have what it takes to be the next seagoing reality TV star?

The search is on for a host for a new cable television show that takes viewers out to sea.

"There are so many extreme boats with incredible stories. From fishing boats to icebreakers and tugboats ... cargo and cruise ships to aircraft carriers -- there is an endless list of stories floating out on the water," said Fred Grinstein, director of development for Tiger Aspect Productions in New York City. "There also are offshore rigs and building of underwater tunnels and pipelines. The show will feature everything it takes to live and work on the water," he said.

The show will be modeled after the History Channel's "Extreme Trains" series. The ideal host will be a male in his early 30s to 40s who has "insider" experience and a "kid in a candy store" kind of excitement about life at sea, Grinstein said. He pointed to Geo Beach of Homer, host of the "Tougher in Alaska" series, as a character who is "brimming over with personality that people can really connect with."

"It's a weird formula as far as finding these real characters, who also have credibility and can do the job. We're not just asking them to sit down and be a talking head or just stand by and watch. We're asking them to take us somewhere and engage the people they are interacting with and the viewers," Grinstein said.

Tiger Aspect Productions will be doing casting calls at Pacific Marine Expo this month in Seattle.

"We can do a casting session right there. People can be on camera and do some interviews," Grinstein said.

He encourages anyone who is the "real deal" to send a recent photo and short bio to or call 212-774-8798.


Pacific Marine Expo, now in its 40th year, is an annual trek to Seattle for anyone involved in the fishing industry. Today, when a click and credit card can get you anything you want via the Internet, Expo continues to attract plenty of vendors and visitors.

"We're often asked that question," said Expo director Bob Callahan. "The facts are people come to trade shows to see and touch new products while they're talking to a company representative. These are things you can't experience on the Internet. They also come to learn the latest trends, catch up with old friends and network with new ones. So over the years our attendance has been strong and we are not seeing any decline."

Callahan said nearly 600 exhibitor booths will be on the show floor. Seminars and workshops are targeted toward safety, work boats, commercial fisheries and charter operators.

"We expect to close with about 10,000 attendees," Callahan said.

Pacific Marine Expo is Nov. 20-22 at the Qwest Center;


Kodiak crabbers will compete for a reduced catch of bairdi tanners when the fishery opens in mid-January. Bairdi are the bigger cousin of snow crab, caught in the Bering Sea. State managers set the Kodiak crab harvest at 400,000 pounds, down from 500,000 last season.

The crab fishery occurs primarily in two eastside districts around the island, and the popular nearby Chiniak, Ugak and Kiluda Bays will be off limits.

"The crab population in those bays was down a little bit in the surveys, and those areas tend to be important for recruitment into the stocks. So as an added conservation measure we're keeping them closed this year," said regional manager Nick Sagalkin.

Chignik will remain closed to tanners; a small catch of 275,000 pounds is allowed for the Southern Alaska Peninsula.

In its heyday during the 1970s, the Kodiak fishery produced more than 30 million pounds of tanner crab. Two years ago the catch topped 2 million, but the year class that was sustaining the fishery has been dwindling. The future bodes well for bigger harvests for Kodiak and down through the Aleutians, Sagalkin said.

"We are still seeing the strong year class that we first noticed several years ago. That should start recruiting into the fishery within the next two to three years," he said.

The fishery attracts a fleet of about 35 local crabbers who averaged $2 a pound for their catch last season. Traditionally, bairdi crab have gone almost exclusively to Japan, but more markets are getting a taste for tanners.


Alaska fishery managers are world-famous for their cautious approach to setting annual catch limits. An example is Alaska pollock in the Bering Sea, where stocks have taken a tumble from record highs during the past decade. Pollock harvests have topped 3 billion pounds most recently, but they may be reduced by nearly half while the stocks take a year or two to rebuild.

"We buffer downward to account for uncertainty," said James Ianelli, a federal fishery statistician at the Alaska Science Center in Seattle.

But it is hardly a "collapse" of the world's largest food fishery, as some headlines have screamed.

Scientists and industry stakeholders have been braced for the pollock decline for several years. Surveys two years ago indicated a big drop in the population caused by poor recruitment of smaller pollock into the fishery. It takes three to five years for pollock to reach maturity, and Ianelli said a strong year class from 2006 appears poised to soon enter the pollock fishery.

Ianelli and industry stakeholders are critical of claims by environmental groups that the Alaska pollock fishery is being mismanaged and overfished.

"We always err on the side of caution," Ianelli said.

Alaska fishery managers will set 2009 catch quotas for pollock, cod and other ground fish in December.


In the spirit of giving back, American Seafoods Co. is again offering $30,000 in donations as part of its annual community grant program. Since 1997 ASC has awarded $75,000 each year to projects throughout rural Alaska that tackle hunger, housing, education and cultural programs.

Award recipients in February included the American Red Cross/Alaska, St. Paul Volunteer Fire Department and Ketchikan schools. Twenty-three educational scholarships were awarded in May totaling $14,600. Apply online at or contact Kim Lynch at or 206-256-2659. The deadline to apply is Nov. 24. Awards will be announced on Dec. 8.


Laine Welch has been writing about Alaska's seafood industry since 1991. Her Fish Factor column appears each week in nearly 20 papers and websites. Her daily Fish Radio programs air on 30 stations in Alaska. This article is protected by copyright and may not be reprinted or distributed without permission. Visit or contact


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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