Page 16 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology
P. 16

Getting a Grip on

                    the Correct Solution Helps

                     Sea Catch get a Huge Lift

                                                 by Peter Hildebrandt
         Just as the saying goes, you can either be part of the problem or part of the
         solution. And with one valuable new tool, that problem needed solving. Sea Catch
         was born from such a question needing a good answer. Solving a problem of
         course takes some effort.

              he  obstacle  became  evident  first
              to Bob Schmidt and then to John
         TMcMillan on the western shore of
         Alaska’s Cook Inlet in the mid-1980s.
           Here, all commercial salmon fishing
         set-net sites are located on the beach
         or  near the shoreline  and all are an-
         chored at each end to the bottom or the
         beach uplands. Generally, the nets are
         set and pulled out at specific times, but
         picked  at  slack  tide  by  fishermen  us-
         ing skiffs. During the summer fishing
         season, fishermen are often required by
         law to remove their fishing nets from
         the water before nine at night.
           Although there are large floats at each
         end of the net and corks along the full
         length of the cork line, the entire net and
         its flotation system is prone to being sub-
         merged when high tides and heavy, tidal
         currents are combined with high winds.
         If such conditions are anticipated at the
         nine o’clock pull-out time that would
         prevent access and removal of the gear,
         fishermen would go out at the 6 PM slack
         tide, pick the fish out and remove their
         gear to avoid the high tide hardships and
         a possible citation by the Alaska Depart-
         ment of Fish and Game.
           While  picking  up the  gear  at 6  PM
         would seem the wiser  approach, it
         would also mean that 3 hours of valu-
         able fishing time would be lost. Quite
         valuable in  fact,  since  in  most cases,   Sea Catch TR10 deploying the manned submersible Deep Worker 2000, one of the largest
                                            subsea medicinal research expeditions in US history.  All photos courtesy of Sea Catch.
         the  heavy salmon  runs  occur  during
         these high tide situations.        best was a primitive device based on a   were spliced together to form one line
           The question then arose, “For these   modified set of Vice-Grip® pliers. These   (20 to 30 feet) that went to a cork that
         conditions, how can we leave the gear   devices use what is called a four-point   stayed floating regardless of the weath-
         in the water right up to 9 PM and still   toggle linkage principle to grip and lock   er and current conditions.
         access the gear and pull it out on time?”   anything within its jaws. The jaw was   These  devices  were  installed  in  the
         Not only would they get three hours of   replaced with one that encircled a met-  lines during the 6 PM slack tide period
         extra fishing time, but also have access   al ring rather than gripping it.   and later, at nine, they worked amaz-
         to all the fish along the beach for that   The body of the device was fitted with   ingly well. A crew member in the skiff
         whole  time period since  the competi-  a  hole  where  it  could  be  connected to   merely pulled on the release line float-
         tor’s fishing sites upstream would have   the net. The release lever was modified   ing at the surface. This released both
         been pulled out at 6 PM.           with  a hole  where  a release  lanyard   devices and disconnected the cork line
           After trying without success to make   could be attached. Two units were re-  and lead line from the anchor.  While
         things work with pin shackles and peli-  quired, one for the cork  line and one   the gear flagged out with the current,
         can hooks, the only thing that worked   for the lead line. The release lanyards        continued on page 18
         16     Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   February 2018
   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21