Tonight marks the first episode of Opilio season which is typically fished starting in January. The temperatures drop, the winds pick up, the ice forms, and this season, there’s a tremendous amount of Opilio crab to catch as the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is the highest its been in over a generation. It’ll be dangerous alright…And in his latest blog entry, Doug Stanley–who filmed aboard the F/V North American this year–writes about other dangers when it comes to fishing, and he tells of a death that’s occurred in the 2007/2008 Bering sea crabbing seasons…
Dave Ness, F/V NorthAmerican. (Photo courtesy of Discovery)
…Having returned to Dutch Harbor for the upcoming opilio crab season, I sought out the North American and found her at the North Pacific Fuel Dock. As I stepped aboard, I immediately sensed that something was wrong. Capt. Sten Skaar and the other crew onboard met me with a straight face and a somber mood. I caught the sideways glances that passed between them, and since nobody seemed to be forthcoming with information, I had to ask, “So … what’s up?” Terje Kavinge, our new deckhand and cook, glanced at the captain quizzically, obviously seeking permission to tell me. Sten shrugged and nodded to him. Terje took a deep breath and then slowly explained that there had already been a terrible incident in the crab fleet: Davin Nes, a deckhand on the North American, had just lost one of his brothers, Jeffrey Nes.
This was grim news for all of us on the North American and for all the fishermen in the fleet. It was especially painful for the Nes family, one of the legendary fishing families of the Bering Sea. They had lost one of their own.
Terje continued explaining what had happened. Jeffrey was working aboard the Sea Warrior, when he fell from a stack of pots, four high. Terje told me that Davin and his other brother Johnny, who was fishing on another vessel, had just flown home to attend services for their brother.
Make the jump here, and read the rest