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Trials and Tribulations of a Purse Line

Aug 19, 2013 | Gulf of Alaska Project | 0 comments

by Olav Ormseth
August 18, 2013

Our chartered vessel, the Island C, is currently warming up its engines as we prepare to head for Izhut Bay.  We have been down in Kiliuda Bay for the last four days, and steamed in to Kodiak early this morning for water, supplies, and a few other needed things. Having a stop back in Kodiak after doing the first bay of the trip is very valuable, as it allows us to figure out if there is anything that needs replacement, repair, or enhancement.

For example, the first couple of days in the skiff convinced me that our little purse seine wasn’t working as it should. A purse seine is a net that is set in a circle, so that it forms a circular wall- corks on top of the net to float it, weighted lead line (as in the the metal) on the bottom. After we get the seine set in a circle, we pull in a line running through runs along the leadline. This pulls the bottom of the net together, forming a large bag or purse and keeping any fish inside the net from escaping. Much larger versions of this net are used by commercial fishers to catch salmon, tuna, and herring; our little net is twenty feet deep and forms a circle about 40 feet in diameter. We have found that this is a great tool for sampling nearshore habitat.

Recently, however, we have been having increasing problems with the purse line getting wrapped in the web, and we noticed that the purse line was getting pretty chafed after being dragged through numerous types of kelps, eelgrasss, barnacles, and gravel. So this morning we went off to Kodiak Marine Supply and got ourselves a shiny, smooth new purse line. We’ll string the new line as we steam up to Izhut and should be ready to drop the skiff in the water later this afternoon! More in a week or so.

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