Reel History: Email for Crabbers


Yasent Oliver/KMXT

Hello, I’m Yasent Oliver, a summer intern at KMXT as part of the stations summer archiving project. Throughout the summer, I have been listening to various Alaska Fisheries Reports from the 1980s and early 90s. The shows were hosted by Laine Welch, current producer of Fish Radio, which airs daily on KMXT.
While listening to these, one story struck me as quite interesting. The story was about a new technology that could help crab fisherman get closer to the catch quotas: E-Mail. Here are some sound bytes from the news story. Keep in mind, when she says "Morrison," she is referring to:
"Fish and Game management biologist Rance Morrison at Dutch Harbor."

First, Welch talks about the demand for the new technology.
"At a well attended meeting in Seattle, October 5th, Morrison says crabbers gave a clear message that they want Fish and Game to do a better job of hitting the harvest guidelines."
Welch then explained Fish and Game’s first step toward solving the problem.
"Fish and Game has purchased an electronic mailbox system thats accessable to all crab vessels having saitellite communications capabilities."
Morrison described the how Fish and Game planned to test the E-mail system to make sure it functions properly.
"We’ll be, um, making an attempt here, a trial run at actually having the fleet, uh, report to us directly through, uh, the NCI electronic mailbox. So, that should give us a fairly, um, quick, straight forward, uh, cross-section of at least those vessels that have that ability."
He said one of the things that will be nice about using E-mail is that it will be a direct information transfer to the fishermen.
"So the information does not have to be coded, uh, which will free us up on the decoding end; we’ll just be able to download that stuff right into a spreadsheet, um, and it’ll be just the strait numbers."
On the downside, Morrison said fishermen using the E-mail system in November will be dealing with more information becasue of the king and tanner crab season kicking off at the same time.
Still, he believed the new system will improve things dramatically.
"The real test is going to be to see just how well, um, these guys are able to take the instructions we give to them and report back to us, but, I think it’s going to be a vast improvement. I think it’s going to present some problems we don’t have now but it’s going to solve a lot more, I think, that we do have, and so we’re pretty optimistic that this is going to help a lot."
Isn’t it interesting to hear what were new and groundbreaking technologies were back then compared to what they are now? Anyways, thanks for listening, I have been your host, Yasent Oliver, wishing you a good rest of your day.

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