The Boat: The 72-ft. F/V Point Omega was built by Ken's dad (Ken Sr.) to fish crab around Kodiak. A few years later Ken Sr. decided to build a new boat and Ken Jr. bought the Point Omega, which he had been skippering since 1972. With two big live circulation tanks, the boat stays out for about three weeks at a time, and the catch is cooked, sectioned and frozen on shore.
What is it like fishing together as a family?
Chris: Family fishing (sometimes known as Forced Family Fun in our family) has been good, and a very bonding experience.
How and why did you start fishing?
Chris: Both Kenny and I come from fishing families. Ken began fishing at about 6 years old. His father worked in a plywood mill during the day in Anacortes, Washington, and in the evening he would haul Dungeness gear by hand while his 6-year-old son ran the outboard. On the weekends they would sell their cooked crab on the street corner.
Ken: We sold 'em three for a buck.
Chris: After a while Ken Sr. got into gradually bigger vessels and eventually headed to Alaska to fish. When Ken Jr. was 14 he was the only Dungy deckhand for an entire summer. I have lived in Alaska most of my life. My grandfather came over from Norway as a boy and fished all over Alaska—at one time he fished in the Shelikof off a sailing ship that put dories out during the day to fish cod for salting. My father was a deckhand on a Fish & Wildlife boat and worked for the canneries, and then started fishing. I started my fishing career in Dutch Harbor in the mid `70s as a young mother working on our 32-ft. wooden vessel, being a fill-in crewman for king and tanner crab.
What's the life like?
Chris: We love the water and we love the life we lead. We fish year-round, except November and December. We have a cabin on Deadman Bay and we move there in the summer so Kenny can fish for Dungeness at the Trinity Islands.
How important is sustainable fisheries management?
Chris: The future of fishing depends on stock management to keep a healthy cycle in a healthy ocean. We have been active in our fishing association and involved in the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council process. We are very committed to ensuring that fishing remains an important part of our coastal community. Ken worked in Washington in 1976 to help promote passage of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act—the primary law governing marine fisheries management in U.S. federal waters.
What three words best describe fishing in Alaska?
Independence, freedom and adventure.