TRANSCRIPT - Louis Larsen
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.
when we first started harpooning out of here you could go right
off to No Mans Land and get harpoon swordfish. And as a matter
of fact weve 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 wed 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 couldnt 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. Wed move into a new area and wed catch
the swordfish. But the next year you couldnt catch them there.
They used to always come back to the spot. But at that time we didnt
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 its really sad to see that
its 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 Mans 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 theres 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
I know it was
great for me at the time because we caught a lot of swordfish but
we didnt 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 its 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 thats where we fished.
Wed fish off here, off along the coast, along the continental
shelf and then wed work east. And as we worked east theyd
settle down on the eastern part of Georges Banks. And then wed
fish there until August/September. But now we cant go there
anymore because its Canadian. And they dont 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 didnt know what fishing
was like. The price is so high, you see. I mean theyre getting
four or five dollars a pound. So they dont need as many fish
but if they had seen what sword fishing was really like. Its
just a shame
you can never bring it back. I mean you could
bring it back but youd 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 wasnt 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 theres
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 Mans Land. But we never really saw any of them spawn but
this is what they had done when they made their circle. Theyd
come around and coming through the Straits of Florida theyd
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 dont
just turn them ashore and say, "Hey thats it, youre
done!" But its the only way to save it. I mean its
the only way theyre ever going to save sword fishing. And
from what I gather, the Spanish just dont care. I mean theyre
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 youd 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 wouldnt eat up all our fish. But then
along came the finning. Gosh, that was later on around the 70s
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 Mans
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 theyve 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 theyll never
get a chance to come back. Many times when we were harpooning, youd
just come down on a swordfish and the shark would come up and bite
the belly of a swordfish. Hes sort of at the mercy of a shark
at that point when hes up on the surface.
Are there any other types of by-catch besides sharks?
a lot of tuna. We couldnt get any price for them 3
cents a pound, so we just cut em off the hook, just let them
go. It wasnt worth bringing them in for 3 cents a pound. But
now, of course, thats a good thing too. The price is up on
Would you say that fishing is a way of life thats dying?
Its 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 youre 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 theyre over 18" and sometimes you get
busy, youd get a lot of fish and they wouldnt pay attention
and, what the heck if you had one under, you just as well have the
whole trip under, you know. Its 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 cant get down again.
If stock were to be rebuilt and things returned to normal, how would
fishermen fish so that it wouldnt happen all over again?
be any fish when we go back?! I couldnt 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 heres this fish laying in the
water. Theyre kind of scavengers themselves, you know. They
dont want to be. When there was a lot of schools of fish,
theyd swipe through em, and thats 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 thats 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 its 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 dont
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 youd have the fisherman that
could do that again or not I dont know. Youd have to
stop the airplanes, and youd 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 cant get in on the hangups;
you cant 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,
Im not sure that even hook and line isnt
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 couldnt
catch any. So there is something to that too. Ive seen it.
attracted to the bait and thats what they do. I dont
know the answer. I really dont, 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 dont know the
answer, I really dont. Just too many people have to feed too
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 nights sleep. Sometimes if it got
bad in the afternoon, youd shut off around 5 oclock.
Youd 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. Youd 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 wed
go from daylight til dark when its flat calm. And so
it was a much greater way of life. And the guys used to come here
from Block Island. Theres a lot of swordfish boats out from
there. And theyd all gather here, in Menemsha when the fish
moved down here to the southeast of No Mans.
They were only
small boats at that time. They couldnt get out. Theyd
all gather on the dock and theyd 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 its $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.
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 wed 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.
Whats it like for you to see Marthas Vineyard today
which is now less of a fishing community and more of a tourist resort?
I hope it never happens to Menemsha. Its happened to the other
towns. There is no place for fishermen now. And in Edgerton which
had fishing boats before. Now you cant go in there, you cant
tie up to the docks down there, fishing boat cant. Theres
no place to tie up except to Packers dock. Hes 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
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 thats why they were big. Youd come
on and youd see them finning and theyre going along
and as you got closer and closer apparently they could feel the
vibration of the water and theyd sink down a little more and
more. And then when theyd 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 cant 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, "Youre the one that
turned your head up at me and said I couldnt 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 youd have a cod fish on. Today though there isnt
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 theyll
get 8 or 10. But then theyll 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 wed 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 its devastating. Everything is cleaned out.
How did you start swordfishing?
was swordfish out here and when someone wanted one youd go
out theyd 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 wasnt any market for them youd 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 hed take us out swordfishing some days
and so we got to like it. We really enjoyed going for them. Most
of the time youd 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 wed 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 30s 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
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 Mans Land and so they decimated that group
of fish. And now theyre fishing way down, they have to travel
way down to get any fish. Its 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 cant
the only place you can is pretty well down off of Cape
Hatteras. You know its 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 youd 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 wed 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
thats about all there is to catch. I think the big ones .
. .they seem to take the hook and the little ones didnt 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 were
fishing down off the Grand Banks. They were all nice big fish. Very
seldom would we ever see a pup. Theyre in the stream and they
just keep meandering along and...it wasnt 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?
dollars. But you know, its a good trip. It takes a week to
get to the Grand Banks, a week to get back, thats two weeks
gone. Very seldom today you can ever get a trip in 14 days so theres
a month gone, each trips a month. Then in the wintertime you
cant do that. Theres 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?
exactly what it is. When we had the "Christine" then we
only burned about 5 gallons an hour of fuel. Wed leave here
in the morning and we would be off there the next morning on Georges
Bank, 24 hours wed be down at Georges 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 wed stop and wed
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 didnt want to set on
know lots of times its just surface water and we didnt
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, hed 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, its only in the nighttime you fish. You set out
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, thats the
least you would have, so theres 3,000 pounds of mackerel.
Youd lose the first set. You could save half of it maybe,
so the next day it would 1,500 pounds like that. Youd try
to use what you could on the second day but on the third day theyd
be too mushy, you couldnt 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 didnt see that. Its not here anymore. Its
all gone. All the fish, all the birdlife and things that were out
here are gone. Its really a shame.
I always claimed
that they were the most important fish in the whole ocean. When
theyd come through a school of fish you could see them swipe
through it and theyd go through with their swords and theyd
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 didnt 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
bait the ground.
Why do you think you dont see the birds or fish anymore?
Well I think
that the swordfish are gone. Most of the activity thats in
the water for the fish to eat is gone. I guess they catch em
up. People say
I know its great, I know you shouldnt
say anything about the whale but Ive watched a whale, a hump
back whale, hed circle. Hed see a school of squid on
the water and hed circle like that and blowing bubbles around
them, and then when he got just right hed come up with his
mouth like that and hed practically clean out that whole school
in one swipe! I mean, I dont 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
When we spoke with you earlier, you said you wished youd never
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 didnt
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, theyre beautiful fish in the
water and it was just a great way of life and its 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 didnt 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 thats the sharks
job, hes 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 its possible for long-liners to stay out of nursery
I never saw
that they were mixed in. I know that when I was down at the Gulf
of Mexico you know Id leave a spot if they were all pups,
small fish and Id 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 theyd be big fish, I went back months later theyd
be good sized fish. Now they didnt grow that much overnight
so I think they move on, I think theyre all consciously moving.
Do you think there should be closed areas so swordfish stocks can
Oh, yes, they
should stop them in the Straits of Florida, absolutely. Thats
exactly where they spawn. We never knew that before. We used to
think we might have known but it wasnt 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 Ive been, I dont know
what they find in the Caribbean, but like I said is the only place
that Ive 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,
thats where it comes through and thats 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 doesnt have to be in the
wintertime but in the spring of the year, in May . .we never know
when theyre coming through, May or April or June, theyre
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 theyre 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 didnt 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 thats 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 dont 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
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 weve done. Were 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 theyre
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 dont make the same
tough. Youd have to put a quota on what someone caught so
that they dont go out and stay 30 days, 40 days, whatever
theyre staying now. But thats the only way you could
do it. Like I was saying theres just so many people, you have
to feed them somehow and its 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 dont know.
Do you think its 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 youd 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 wed
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 thats
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.
Thats why Id like to shake hands with a sports fishermen.
Ive never met one. They say there are some around. But you
go out there and they just love to boat, theyll 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 dont keep them". I said "thats
fine, thats great." It made me feel great when we left.
We caught quite a few bass and to know that theyre going to
be there for someone else to catch. I know that commercially you
cant 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...theres 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. Youd
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, theres 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 cant conservate.
I think weve
cleaned out whats here, whats 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.
Theres no question weve devastated the reed that was
out here, we cleaned them out and thats why they have to go
further. Theyre going further and further all the time. These
are distant water vessels now, theyre 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 were coming down from
this side, and there are still Canadians fishing. Theyre still
fishing for swordfish. But I hope theres an answer some day
soon, somehow I hope they find that answer. But like I said with
the modern technology they have theres no way to hide. No
way in the world for a fish to hide anymore.
Is there anything youd like to add?
I guess I spoke
about the fact that they managed to bring back the bass, they brought
back the fluke. Lets try to bring the swordfish back. There
must be a way to do it, theres 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 cant help it, they have
to make a living, these fishermen have to make a living and the
codfish, when they make a tow they dont know whether theyre
going to get a bunch of codfish or not. And when you bring them
up from 100 fathom they dont live, theyre 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 youll
find anyone to ever go back again, I dont know.