Each commercial fisherman is a small, independent business person who must understand the biological and environmental issues that shape his/her ability to earn a living, invest capital in his/her business, take risks, and work long hours when there are fish to catch.
Many of Oregon's commercial fishermen are second, third, and fourth generation in this business. It is a family and cultural heritage passed along from generation to generation. In many families, the first catch of the season is still cause for celebrating the bounty nature provides.
By being active stewards of the state's resources and waters, the industry assures its livelihood by caring for the health of the fisheries.
Method of Catch
Ocean trolling is hook and line fishing. Several lures or baits are lowered into the water and pulled slowly behind the boat (no more than 4 spreads of lures or bait are allowed on each line). Salmon are attracted to the gear and strike while feeding on natural bait in the area. The fisherman lands each salmon individually, then cleans it immediately and packs it in ice for delivery.
The trolling fleet has two main components: trip boats and day boats. Trip boats range between 30 and 65 feet in length. Typical trips are 3 to 5 days at sea with a crew of one or two people. Day boats are usually smaller, about 20 to 30 feet in length. They fish closer to port, returning each day, often crewed by a solitary fisherman. The number of permits and vessels is limited to 1,200 statewide.
Most ocean trolling is done within 25 miles of shore. Undersea mounts, currents, and feed determine where the salmon will be found. Pacific Salmon range from Southern California to Alaska.
Trolling is regulated by state and federal managers. Open seasons and quotas are established annually to ensure conservation and food production at optimum levels. In Oregon, trolling seasons usually open in mid-March and close at the end of October. For specific seasons, see the webpage "Seasons."