Louis Larsen is a retired commercial fisherman in Massachusetts.


Earlier you spoke of how there used to be more fish out there. Could you talk to us about that.

Yeah, well, when we first started harpooning out of here you could go right off to No Man’s Land and get harpoon swordfish. And as a matter of fact we’ve even harpooned them right off Gay Head, right in close. And then, of course, as modern technology came into it we started with an airplane and harpooning swordfish — that sort of took the guesswork out of it. The plotter would pick up fish way off that we’d miss. But then came long-lining. That came in the 60's. And, of course, the Japanese had been doing it for quite some time. So they showed us films of long-lining.

Gosh, that first year we had "Christine." She was only 57 feet long. And in three days we had her full of swordfish, she couldn’t hold anymore, whereas with the harpoon it would take us two weeks to get maybe fifty, sixty. The swordfish were plentiful. And like codfish, you can never clean them out of the grounds with a hook and line. But it certainly proved wrong. We sort of had an idea this might be happening. We’d move into a new area and we’d catch the swordfish. But the next year you couldn’t catch them there. They used to always come back to the spot. But at that time we didn’t know it. And it turns out that we just over fished them. There were so many hooks in the water.

And, of course the Japanese came over here as well with their long-liners and just devastated the fisheries. And it it’s really sad to see that it’s happened this way because you could just go out here and it made it a nice living for people.

They could go out here off No Man’s and maybe get four, five, six, swordfish on a good day. But now I went out on the Banjo, the last couple of years, and my gosh, that ocean is dead. I now know that the swordfish provided food for the birds and the lobsters. I mean they go through a school of fish, they slice through it and there’s a lot of fish that come to the surface and the birds would feed on them. Because the birds are sloppy eaters they would drop their food and the lobsters at the bottom would get food. So it was sort of a shame, I mean to go out there and look at it now where the ocean is, there are no birds — no stormy petrels left and very few sheerwaters, where the ocean used to look alive with sheerwaters before. It was just a shame that long-lining ever came about to be honest with you.

I know it was great for me at the time because we caught a lot of swordfish but we didn’t get much of a price for ’em you know. We got as low as 16, I think it was — 16, 12 and 10 we got for the different sized swordfish, a pound. But now it’s down so there are very few fish. And of course, with this 200-mile limit that came into effect, it just cut us off from the Canadian waters, where most of our fish came from. I mean that’s where we fished. We’d fish off here, off along the coast, along the continental shelf and then we’d work east. And as we worked east they’d settle down on the eastern part of Georges Banks. And then we’d fish there until August/September. But now we can’t go there anymore because it’s Canadian. And they don’t issue licenses to American vessels.

Do you have to go further out now?

Yeah you have to go a long ways now — way down past the Grand Banks even.

You mentioned that you wish long-lining never took off. Are there others who feel the same way?

Most of these people that got into it lately, they didn’t know what fishing was like. The price is so high, you see. I mean they’re getting four or five dollars a pound. So they don’t need as many fish but if they had seen what sword fishing was really like. It’s just a shame…you can never bring it back. I mean you could bring it back but you’d have to stop it, stop fishing for a period. I think if you gave them five years of leaving them alone, let them come through the Straits of Florida. We never really knew where they spawned. But it wasn’t until the Spring, one boat they just set there right off Cape Canaveral and got quite a few swordfish. And I know that when I went down there, after I heard about it, I steamed down, and like we had 83 swordfish that night, and 37 of ’em had roe in ’em — all big fish, you know, all big. And we knew that that was the end if we started, and kept fishing on these.

But then, the National Maine fisheries came along and said, "Oh there’s an abundance of swordfish in the Straits of Florida" and they rigged out all these boats and they turned them all into long-liners. So that was the end up here. We know that they were the same fish that came in. We knew they were all females that came in here off No Man’s Land. But we never really saw any of them spawn but this is what they had done when they made their circle. They’d come around and coming through the Straits of Florida they’d spawn, and right in the stream. It was too bad. But like I say, I think if the government wanted to stop them they should at least buy these boats out — buy the fisherman out. You don’t just turn them ashore and say, "Hey that’s it, you’re done!" But it’s the only way to save it. I mean it’s the only way they’re ever going to save sword fishing. And from what I gather, the Spanish just don’t care. I mean they’re going to fish until the very end.

In your experience with long lining is there a lot of by-catch?

Oh yeah! We used to hate the sharks. I mean probably for every swordfish we caught, there were probably four or five sharks in-between. When we first started with the long- line half of what we caught went to the sharks. All you’d pull back was the head, the sharks would eat the rest of ’em. So we were trying to kill off the sharks as well, so they wouldn’t eat up all our fish. But then along came the finning. Gosh, that was later on around the 70’s that that came in. The Japanese and Chinese wanted the fins for the soup. And so they devastated the sharks. Like I said, to go out here then, you could always count at least 10 sharks when you trawled in the mast, right from the time you left No Man’s Land, right off to the southern you could always see sharks.

But now when I went out there, you can look all day long and you very seldom see a shark anymore. But now they’ve got a ban on sharks. I mean they want to stop shark fishing, but I think you should stop sword fishing before you do the sharks because they’ll never get a chance to come back. Many times when we were harpooning, you’d just come down on a swordfish and the shark would come up and bite the belly of a swordfish. He’s sort of at the mercy of a shark at that point when he’s up on the surface.

Are there any other types of by-catch besides sharks?

Oh there’s a lot of tuna. We couldn’t get any price for them — 3 cents a pound, so we just cut ’em off the hook, just let them go. It wasn’t worth bringing them in for 3 cents a pound. But now, of course, that’s a good thing too. The price is up on tuna, really.

Would you say that fishing is a way of life that’s dying?

It’s dying. It’s really a shame. But now you have so many people telling you when you can go, when you have to come back. And it got to be that you’re afraid of doing anything wrong. It was all that was on your mind. The guys on deck are picking the fish, like the cod, to make sure that they’re over 18" and sometimes you get busy, you’d get a lot of fish and they wouldn’t pay attention and, what the heck if you had one under, you just as well have the whole trip under, you know. It’s just yellowtails and all that. I can see where whatever you could get in a 5-inch mesh, 6-inch mesh and the twine, whatever you keep in that you should be able to keep, not discard it. Because it very likely is dead anyway. And when you pull up the cod from the deep water or haddock from the deep water, they can’t get down again.

If stock were to be rebuilt and things returned to normal, how would fishermen fish so that it wouldn’t happen all over again?

Would there be any fish when we go back?! I couldn’t believe that it would devastate the swordfish in that manner - that they would completely clean them out of an area. But I guess when you think about it they have to eat every night and here’s this fish laying in the water. They’re kind of scavengers themselves, you know. They don’t want to be. When there was a lot of schools of fish, they’d swipe through ’em, and that’s what is sad out here that there were no hoppers, nothing. I mean nothing that you had ever seen before.

What do you think is the better way to fish for swordfish? Go back to the old ways?

Yeah, go back to the old harpooning way.

When we were harpooning the weather was a factor, the fog and everything. But what you did was you spotted them and you harpooned them. And it was selective. We actually never saw a small swordfish. We never knew what it was like out here. Even years ago I guess they wrote books about how these little swordfish were never out here. Well they were here but they never came to the surface. And only the big ones would come up. And that’s only from May ’til around the end of May ’til September. It seems like the first northeaster, in September, they go down, and then they never come back up again.

I know that in the Gulf of Mexico it’s the same as it is out here. One afternoon out here we got 31 swordfish and all conditions were exactly the same. Down in the Gulf of Mexico, the moon was on the same phase and it was a beautiful sunny day, a light southwest wind and nothing came to the surface, not a fish of any kind. Yet we knew there were swordfish there, but they never came to the surface. I don’t think anyone has ever figured out why they come to the surface during this time. They just seem to come up. But that would be the way to bring it back. But whether you’d have the fisherman that could do that again or not I don’t know. You’d have to stop the airplanes, and you’d have to go back to the old fashioned way in order to get the swordfish to come back. And the sharks and everything else would come back.

Do you think we could ever go back to hook and line?

Yeah, but like I say with the modern technology, you have the party boats when you stop the draggers from going. You can’t get in on the hangups; you can’t get in on the hard bottom where the fish go to. And yet these fellows come down with all these men on board party boats, and they load up with cod fish. They go up on the shoals. And so, I’m not sure that even hook and line isn’t…it’s vulnerable. I know out here when I cut through sword fishing off shore I came back and I rigged up for tub trawling, and went right off here, right off Menemsha because the draggers were getting maybe a thousand pounds, fifteen hundred pounds all day long.

Gosh, we had as much as four or five-thousand pounds of codfish with hook and line. And we were still catching them when the draggers couldn’t catch any. So there is something to that too. I’ve seen it.

They’re attracted to the bait and that’s what they do. I don’t know the answer. I really don’t, I wish I did. I just wish things would go back to the old fashioned way where swordfish was harpooned. Of course, you never go back because of modern technology but you know, today you can actually see the fish on the bottom with the new fish scopes and all that. So I don’t know the answer, I really don’t. Just too many people have to feed too many people.

Could you talk to us about the days when swordfish were plentiful?

It was a nice way of life, harpooning swordfish. You, only got them in the daytime. And so you always had a night’s sleep. Sometimes if it got bad in the afternoon, you’d shut off around 5 o’clock. You’d have your dinner and then you could lay down and read a book - it was an easy way of life. And then you get up in the morning and hope for a nice day. You’d get underway and you knew that, at the most, you were only going to be in the mast 8 hours, except on a real good day. If it was a good day you we’d go from daylight ’til dark when it’s flat calm. And so it was a much greater way of life. And the guys used to come here from Block Island. There’s a lot of swordfish boats out from there. And they’d all gather here, in Menemsha when the fish moved down here to the southeast of No Man’s.

They were only small boats at that time. They couldn’t get out. They’d all gather on the dock and they’d spin a yarn and then it was a more peaceful life than it is now. Today, I can see where medical expenses are terrible and electricity. Gee, I know when we moved into this place here our electric light bill was what, eight, ten dollars a month; now it’s $300 a month and everything has gone up. No one has the time to relax, I guess, and tell stories like we used to do. It was really a great way of life.

It’s been great for me. I wish I had spent more time home with my kids things like that But whenever I did come I was always home for Christmas and we’d always do things together and it was fun.

It was difficult leaving the family. But I never looked back. I just looked straight ahead to the days the trip was over and we had enough fish to make a trip home.

What’s it like for you to see Martha’s Vineyard today which is now less of a fishing community and more of a tourist resort?

It’s sad. I hope it never happens to Menemsha. It’s happened to the other towns. There is no place for fishermen now. And in Edgerton which had fishing boats before. Now you can’t go in there, you can’t tie up to the docks down there, fishing boat can’t. There’s no place to tie up except to Packer’s dock. He’s nice enough to let people tie up there. But this is the only place left on the island where the fisherman can really work out of.

I understand periodically you all get together and talk about the old times…what memories do you share with each other?

We talk about the big ones that got away, usually! I often think about it - when long-lining came about. Gosh, I can remember down here these great big swordfish. And that’s why they were big. You’d come on and you’d see them finning and they’re going along and as you got closer and closer apparently they could feel the vibration of the water and they’d sink down a little more and more. And then when they’d get down, those big fish go down like that, and they turn this eye up and look up at you as much as to say, "Hey, you can’t touch me here" you know. Then when we got the hooks out and you get these five-, six-hundred pound fish it was always on my mind, "You’re the one that turned your head up at me and said I couldn’t catch you."

How does today compare with how plentiful the cod were back then?

There were lots of cod fish. They were…like I say, right off Gay Head, you could just go right off there in certain spots and just drop your hook and you’d have a cod fish on. Today though there isn’t any cod here. Very, very seldom. Once in awhile a boat will go out and try to catch them with a hand line and maybe in one day they’ll get 8 or 10. But then they’ll go out again and never catch a fish. Now you have to go way off in the deep water to catch ‘em, down to the eastern… when we were dragging we were fishing down in Nantucket Shoals. You know we’d go swordfishing in the Summer and dragging in the Winter and you could go down the Nantucket Shoals and pick up a pretty good trip there in a couple of days, and now my gosh, I guess you could fish forever and never see a codfish. So it’s devastating. Everything is cleaned out.

How did you start swordfishing?

Well, there was swordfish out here and when someone wanted one you’d go out they’d go out and get them. And see at that time, I think most of the time they were 4-5 cents a pound for swordfish. And if there wasn’t any market for them you’d just cut him up and use it for lobster bait.

It sounds like you started harpooning almost as soon as you learnt how to fish?

When I was a kid I used to go out. Of course I got sea sick you know. My father had a 40-foot boat and he’d take us out swordfishing some days and so we got to like it. We really enjoyed going for them. Most of the time you’d get 3 or 4 fish a day and up to 6 swordfish a day; and they were big. You never saw any small fish.

You were saying how you began catching swordfish when you were going after other fish?

Well lots of times if you go off lobstering a swordfish would come up alongside the lobster and we’d harpoon him and get whatever any way you could. But lobstering was the main thing. You could depend on it. That was about 1930, in the 30’s anyway. My father got sick and then my brother took over. He was only 16 then and he took over running the boat and they went swordfishing. I went with my father when he felt better, lobstering. So they ran the swordfish boat and they went swordfishing every Summer and then dragging in the Winter.

Do you feel that other long-liners are fishing those stocks that are spawning now?

I think they pretty well cleaned them out. They were the ones that came up here, came off of No Man’s Land and so they decimated that group of fish. And now they’re fishing way down, they have to travel way down to get any fish. It’s still in the stream, where they were fishing, down off the Grand Banks because it swings down across, right up. It varies you know, it keeps wandering all the time. It wanders north and then you get northers and northeasters and it moves the stream back and forth in different spots so you can’t really…the only place you can is pretty well down off of Cape Hatteras. You know it’s going to keep coming by there, the Straits of Florida. But after it leaves there it meanders quite a bit and pockets break off.

Was it less frequently that you’d catch pups?

Yes, it was very seldom. I think the first year we went a fellow with us took it. It was the smallest swordfish we’d ever seen, a 50-pounder and he had it mounted. That was really the smallest fish we had seen at that time.

Why do you think so many fish are coming in so small now?

Well I think that’s about all there is to catch. I think the big ones . . .they seem to take the hook and the little ones didn’t at that time. I guess maybe they just got lazy or something. But yeah, as we went on it was bigger and bigger percentage but when we’re fishing down off the Grand Banks. They were all nice big fish. Very seldom would we ever see a pup. They’re in the stream and they just keep meandering along wasn’t until we got into the real warm water that we started catching smaller fish. As long as we stayed in the colder water we had bigger fish.

Why do you think these boats are going in the warmer waters?

It’s the dollars. But you know, it’s a good trip. It takes a week to get to the Grand Banks, a week to get back, that’s two weeks gone. Very seldom today you can ever get a trip in 14 days so there’s a month gone, each trip’s a month. Then in the wintertime you can’t do that. There’s lots of dull periods during that period of the year so you have to stock a lot of money in order to make it pay. The insurance today is terrible for going that distance.

It almost sounds like because there are fewer fish they have to go out further from them and therefore they have to catch more fish to pay for it?

That’s exactly what it is. When we had the "Christine" then we only burned about 5 gallons an hour of fuel. We’d leave here in the morning and we would be off there the next morning on Georges Bank, 24 hours we’d be down at George’s Banks where the fish were a lot more plentiful than they were here. And so the fuel expense was nil and now today you have to pay a dollar a gallon for fuel and you burn probably 12, 18,000 gallons in a trip for the distance you have to go. And the food you have to take and the radio equipment, the buoys. Now they have these. What we used to do is when we found a patch of water we’d stop and we’d take a down-reading, we had this…it was only a $37 machine that would take down-readings. We could go 300 feet and it would register the depth because you didn’t want to set on…you know lots of times it’s just surface water and we didn’t want to just set on surface water because the hooks would be in the cold water. So you had to make sure that there was depth enough for your hooks when they settled down. You always had to have at least a five-fathom buoy line because you never knew when a freighter was coming by. If you got in the middle of it, he’d chop it up on you.

How does long-lining works? You let them all out and you return to get them at night?

No, we set out at night, it’s only in the nighttime you fish. You set out at dark…I was setting up to 31 miles of line and every 60 feet was a hook. And so I had a lot of hooks out compared to what they do today. They use a long drop line from the main line down to the hook. So that would be, gosh a pound of mackerel, that’s the least you would have, so there’s 3,000 pounds of mackerel. You’d lose the first set. You could save half of it maybe, so the next day it would 1,500 pounds like that. You’d try to use what you could on the second day but on the third day they’d be too mushy, you couldn’t use them. But the birds they used to tell a story. Whenever you saw the birds you knew there was action in the area. But when I went out this summer and last summer too, you just didn’t see that. It’s not here anymore. It’s all gone. All the fish, all the birdlife and things that were out here are gone. It’s really a shame.

I always claimed that they were the most important fish in the whole ocean. When they’d come through a school of fish you could see them swipe through it and they’d go through with their swords and they’d knock a few, you know, some would come to the surface where the scars would be. And the birds would come down and feed on that. Then whatever they didn’t get would go to the bottom and feed the lobsters. And it seemed to run true to form down on Georges Banks where the lobster fishermen did the best is where we did the best live swordfishing. So apparently they must come in…they bait the ground.

Why do you think you don’t see the birds or fish anymore?

Well I think that the swordfish are gone. Most of the activity that’s in the water for the fish to eat is gone. I guess they catch ‘em up. People say…I know it’s great, I know you shouldn’t say anything about the whale but I’ve watched a whale, a hump back whale, he’d circle. He’d see a school of squid on the water and he’d circle like that and blowing bubbles around them, and then when he got just right he’d come up with his mouth like that and he’d practically clean out that whole school in one swipe! I mean, I don’t know how much they eat a day but they certainly eat a lot of squid and a lot of schools of fish. And porpoises, too. I think a porpoise only takes what he wants to eat.

When we spoke with you earlier, you said you wished you’d never started long-lining?

Well it was a real good life. Harpooning and swordfishing, it was enjoyable, it was. The odds were against you for catching him because first you had to see him and then you had to harpoon him and if he didn’t jump or run you might get the iron in him and then a shark might get him or he might pull the iron out. So it was exciting. It was great to see them…I mean, they’re beautiful fish in the water and it was just a great way of life and it’s just a shame.

My way of thinking, we were doing well in the summertime and we thought we were doing a lot better long-lining which we did, but the price was so poor compared to what we got for harpooned fish. And we wasted a lot. We didn’t know it at the time. Like I say if we had 39 swordfish or 40 swordfish a night, we had 40 hits, the sharks would eat them as soon as they died on the hooks. And I guess that’s the shark’s job, he’s there to clean the ocean but I think they should think about stopping the swordfish before they stop the sharks because the sharks are always going to feed on the swordfish. I know we came down on some sword-fishermen just waiting to harpoon him and a shark come up and bite the belly out of the swordfish. And of course that swordfish would take off…sometimes you get them you know, the shark bites right down across the back, lots of them. A lot of fish had shark bites where they escaped.

Do you think it’s possible for long-liners to stay out of nursery areas?

I never saw that they were mixed in. I know that when I was down at the Gulf of Mexico you know I’d leave a spot if they were all pups, small fish and I’d go to another spot to get bigger fish. Whether these brought it down to the point where I could go back there in a month and they’d be big fish, I went back months later they’d be good sized fish. Now they didn’t grow that much overnight so I think they move on, I think they’re all consciously moving.

Do you think there should be closed areas so swordfish stocks can replenish themselves?

Oh, yes, they should stop them in the Straits of Florida, absolutely. That’s exactly where they spawn. We never knew that before. We used to think we might have known but it wasn’t until we definitely got in there and caught them with spawn in them.

I think that first of all they have to give them a break. If they could just do that for five years, if the government could just somehow pay these men who have invested all this money into swordfishing thinking "this is great." It would help, it would help out a lot. But like I say, in all the places I’ve been, I don’t know what they find in the Caribbean, but like I said is the only place that I’ve heard any fishermen talk about catching spawn fish or swordfish with spawn in them. A friend of mine, Phil Rule had a dip net aboard and he did it for the University of Rhode Island and he had formaldehyde and he dipped under this piece of seaweed and I believe it was 113 fish he got out of it. And I think there was 60 something were swordfish. The percentage, maybe 10% were marlin and the rest were sailfish. So when they get under that weed, that’s where it comes through and that’s where it seemed to be where the fish hung out. Lots of times we get the big mahi mahi full of little swordfish.

The area should definitely be closed. That should be closed.

The area coming through the Straits of Florida, it doesn’t have to be in the wintertime but in the spring of the year, in May . .we never know when they’re coming through, May or April or June, they’re coming through that area. So during that time they should close that area to give the swordfish a chance. Because that is a Gulf Stream and apparently this is where the fish travel in and make the big round.

How long do you think it would take for North Atlantic stocks to recover if they did recover?

I believe if they could stop swordfishing for 5 years that the fish would come back. It would give them a chance to come back, spawn, and grow. And the ones that were in between would have a chance to spawn as well. The rotation would be great. I mean we know there are still some big swordfish because they’re the gill-netters, but the gill netters was the last stronghold, the last resort of catching swordfish. The ones that were smart enough not to take the hook now became entangled in a net that they didn’t know. The guys all claimed "oh, yeah, all we got was large swordfish", but they never saw the small fish that got into the net and dropped out when they were pulling back — they probably killed a lot more than they ever saw.

But I think they have to leave it alone. I would say five years, if they could just leave it alone for five years, but that’s going to be difficult to do for all the countries to get together because I guess Spain is building more and more long-liners now and traveling distant waters. I don’t know whether I told you, when I was over in Italy the other year in the Straits of Messina, I wanted to see where these swordfish came through. And I can see where they had…where they used to come through people told me that they used to sit up on the bank and they could see them as they were coming through the tide. What it turned out, when we were there I asked them about it. They said "oh, no, no, no, they started fishing for them years ago" and he says, "You never see that anymore." They cleaned ‘em out. Now they have to go way out in the Mediterranean to catch swordfish. And this is what we’ve done. We’re cleaning out the fish and they do need a break, they need a rest. And it showed what they did with the striped bass, they showed what they do with the fluke, how they’re coming back and somehow there has to be a rest period for the swordfish.

If it so happened that the stocks were rebuilt, what do you think is the best way to start fishing so we don’t make the same mistake?

Well that’s tough. You’d have to put a quota on what someone caught so that they don’t go out and stay 30 days, 40 days, whatever they’re staying now. But that’s the only way you could do it. Like I was saying there’s just so many people, you have to feed them somehow and it’s pretty hard to take away the idea that you can just stop fishing and have the fish come back. But if they could just rotate, give them an opportunity to go into some other kind of fisheries and give the fish a chance to come back it would work. They could do that. Like you said, when they build up the stock then what happens? Would you have the fishermen to go back? I don’t know.

Do you think it’s a reality to go back to harpooning?

It would be good because it would give them a chance, you would only be fishing three months out of the year and you’d be leaving them alone the rest of the year. Very seldom you get them late in September, they seem to go down and never come up again. But during these months the fish would come back.

I still think harpooning would be the greatest way to save the fisheries, to go back to the old-fashioned way. Whether you could find the fishermen today to do it, to make a living at it, that would be the thing. I guess the price would compensate for what they brought back.

Years ago we’d average out, it was never less than 200, they were always averaged out at 250, 275. We even had one trip that we averaged out 380 pounds, they were all big fish and they were all beautiful fish. So that’s what we were catching, just the big ones and let the little ones go and left the ones in between spawn.

One of the fishermen we spoke with said that every fishermen out there should be fishing with his conscience…take what you need and make sure you leave enough for tomorrow.

Right. Oh, yeah. That’s why I’d like to shake hands with a sports fishermen. I’ve never met one. They say there are some around. But you go out there and they just love to boat, they’ll just keep fishing and I think the proudest time I had, I went to this friend of mine when we went to visit him in Florida and we went bass fishing and he says now, Louis he says "when you go with me" he says "you don’t keep them". I said "that’s fine, that’s great." It made me feel great when we left. We caught quite a few bass and to know that they’re going to be there for someone else to catch. I know that commercially you can’t do that but, the sportsmen sure could do it — they could let them go.

A lot of people say all the high tech equipment means the fish have no chance...there’s too many boats going after too few fish and they have nowhere to hide.

Oh, yeah, oh very much so. I had all that stuff on my boat at the end but it was always breaking down. Always getting into debris. You’d tow it along. Instead of stopping and taking the depth, they have these machines now that tow along. And the way things are going, the equipment to photograph the Titanic laying on the ocean floor, there’s no stopping what will develop some day. So this is the worst thing…one of the worst things that could happen, is all this modern technology could be the end of the fishing because you can’t conservate.

I think we’ve cleaned out what’s here, what’s off here. Oh we had good years and bad years of swordfishing here but not consistently like it is today, that they have to travel this distance to get the fish. There’s no question we’ve devastated the reed that was out here, we cleaned them out and that’s why they have to go further. They’re going further and further all the time. These are distant water vessels now, they’re not equipped just to go close by anymore, they have to go a long way. And when they clean them out there, then what? Where do they turn? When the Spaniards come from the other side and we’re coming down from this side, and there are still Canadians fishing. They’re still fishing for swordfish. But I hope there’s an answer some day soon, somehow I hope they find that answer. But like I said with the modern technology they have there’s no way to hide. No way in the world for a fish to hide anymore.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

I guess I spoke about the fact that they managed to bring back the bass, they brought back the fluke. Let’s try to bring the swordfish back. There must be a way to do it, there’s gotta be a way to do it. If they want to have the cod come back they have to somehow compensate the fishermen not to go. They can’t help it, they have to make a living, these fishermen have to make a living and the codfish, when they make a tow they don’t know whether they’re going to get a bunch of codfish or not. And when you bring them up from 100 fathom they don’t live, they’re dead. So are they conserving by saying you only can save 300 pounds of codfish? The only way to really do it is to stop it. Stop it completely. But compensate the fishermen and train them to be something else for a number of years till it comes back. But whether you’ll find anyone to ever go back again, I don’t know.