Two Seattle boats, newly equipped with the purse-seine reels that some fishermen believe will revolutionize fishing methods on Puget Sound and in Alaska.
The boats are Thor Botten's THOREEN, the first to leave port, and Sig Henriksen's PERSHING, just completed.
The reels are considered important because they eliminate four of the nine men in a seiner's crew. Many fishermen hail this as good. It will increase the money which each man makes, since the fishermen fish on shares.
A boat with a reel also can do more fishing in the course of a day, since less time is required to handle the net when the work is done by machinery than is required when the work is done by hand.
The reel that accomplishes this labor saving is installed on the after deck. As the reel is turned, the net is drawn over it. Two vertical rollers, or "spoolers," travel back and forth across the stern, guiding the net so it will be wound evenly over the reel.
Canadian seiners have been fishing with the reels for several years, but until this year only one Puget sound boat had one. The pioneer was Frank Green's NONESUCH, that used a somewhat different type of gear.
Besides the THOREEN, the PERSHING and the NONESUCH, only eight US boats are using the reels this year. Seven are out of Bellingham and the other is from LaConner.
The THOREEN and the PERSHING have gear similar to that used in Canada. But Peter G. Schmidt, Jr., president of the Marien Const. & Design Co that installed the equipment on both boats, says changes will be made as the gear is developed and installed on other vessels.
"This system of seining has several distinct advantages," Schmidt said.
"The first and most obvious advantage is the fact that the boat can fish with a four to five-man crew, thus eliminating four men. This obviously will have a tremendous impact on the fishing industry.
The second advantage is that the boats can set much more rapidly than by the old hand method. Some of the Canadian boats have been able to make upwards of 20 sets in one day, as contrasted to six to eight that can be done with the ordinary gear.
The reduction in crew allows the owner of the vessel to receive one more share for his investment in the extra gear, and then each crew makes a proportionately larger share because of the much smaller number of men in the crew.
Thus, the fishermen who make their living by the sea can expect to gain a greater share on the reel boats than on the old-style boat using nine men."
Above text published by The Seattle Times. July 1953.
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